For Mike Marconett
of happy memory
Bright star, beyond a Sterno stove’s brief glow,
We’ll live forever as we live this night:
Coffee and cigarettes and comradeship,
Our backs against the sun-warmed Sierras
As the cold falls from infinite darkness
To keep the snow in place another night,
To smile in ancient silence back at you,
To make a glowing, slumberous twilight until dawn.
Those C-rations were good after a day
Of scrambling among pre-historic rocks
Made musical by the dinosaur creek,
Water as cold as the dark end of time.
San Diego glows in the south-southwest,
Silently, inefficiently, light lost.
But you, dear, happy star, will still shine down
On dreaming youths, tonight and other nights,
Counting for us, for them, each millennium.
Michael Dean Marconett of Minnesota was a Navy buddy in 1967-1968 through recruit training, Hospital Corpsman ‘A’ School, and Field Medical Service School. One weekend Mike, Bill, another friend (who was killed in Viet-Nam), and I rented an old car, loaded up our Marine Corps sleeping bags, and went camping in the snow.