Mountaineering Outfitter

         For Fred Mugler, 1935–2003 

Your immutable boulder of a being, faithful flannel
blending in behind the counter. Thank you for the parka
you sold me at cost, purple ripstop like bougainvillea petals,

big-toothed zipper never snagging, which protected me
in dry-powder daggers of air through miles skiing the Tetons’
ten-below tits, which chaperoned me after work

nights with my future husband. Thank you for my first
Vibram sole, stiff investment paying dividends
in un-sprained ankles.

Galaxies of stray-cat fur, orts and threads, collie hair
swirled under Promethean shelves holding up infinite
inventory, your tagline “More Patagonia than Patagonia,”

your joking and laughing, your patrons are mountain maggots—
anorexic hanky heads. Pitons, chocks, webbing
from here to Ketchikan. Patch kits

and maps of Targhee’s backside, avalanches of aluminum
pots and emerald Nalgene bottles. Ropes ready for belay,
the final markdown on bivouac sacks.

Camphor salves and lamp oil, variegated wool socks, lint
from platoons of Norwegian Army coats all fed
the terrible blaze—

ignited by your space heater, wasn’t it? A block of businesses
burnt to kingdom come and you with it—please God,
your slumber a deep diabetic coma that night.

Ashen with silt of melted glaciers, thirty years of granite dust
from terminal moraine ground into the grain of pine floorboards,
thick white hair, beard and brow, blue-gray eyes forever

alive with your rascally wit, west side of Main still

agape—your heart as big as the Grand.

    -From Snap Bean chapbook (CC.Marimbo)

-- Cathryn Shea
By Any Measure

Walk to ocean,
one mile

Too hot day too
cool breeze

Breeze which 
reveals why

men spent lives 
at sea

Breakers break,
ocean spills

icy chill on

Heaven – by any
measure – 


-- Robin Lee