I settle, snuggle in the chair;
My cup of tea is close at hand
Reverse the final page and there
The empty squares forbidding stand.
I search the wall for toeholds where
I might attack the northern face.
I lean with hand outstretched and dare
To write a seven in its place.
Threes and fives and twos succumb
Along the col I twist and fight
I struggle on, with digits numb
I overcome the blocks of white.
The summit nears, eight-eight-four-nine
The one remaining gap is where
I scratch a six. The final sign
Like Mallory – because it’s there.