“Captain Robert F. Scott and His Diary, circa 1912” by Julie Mafhood

your life reduced to this.

Pen in hand
and pipe
legs crossed while you write
the comforts of home.

Perhaps you write about this room:
rough hewn shelves lined with books
whose titles have been lost,
crates on army cot
and behind you, clothing:


If you could have foreseen
that Amundsen would get there first,
could you have folded your dreams
into a neat, naval package
tucked beneath your head?

Your account: when supplies ran out
companions never blamed.
One month too late,
cold journey homeward
and journal entry: a last coffee.

Amundsen has nothing on you:
not your Hemingway demeanor
poetic demise
nor that final clay bowl of liquid
steaming words
to the page.

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