Haunted Still

On an isolated stretch

near Cooper Landing,

five miles past a gravel turnoff,

a simple two room cabin stands.


In that secluded home 

with autumn’s chill 

and darkness coming early,

parents peek in on two sleeping children,

close the door,

drive ten miles to a favorite cafe

for a Miller Light, grilled burgers,

a little conversation —

come home to empty beds.


Search parties comb the wilds —

dark spruce forests,

the confluence of the Kenai and Moose Rivers,

campgrounds battened down for the season.

They peer into boats pulled up to shore,

knock on solitary doors, follow side roads.


It’s been thirty-five years since the boy and girl

left their remote cabin —

maybe a trip to the outhouse,

an impulsive evening trek at dusk

in search of salmonberries,

abducted by strangers,

devoured by a grizzly.


Thirty-five years since the story 

was plastered on the front page

of the Anchorage Times,

their disappearance wrestled with on local news.


Did they know fear, surprise, cold?

Or did they simply curl up in the underbrush

like wild things, off course, but unafraid 

to wait for rescue?






Sharon Lask Munson is the author of the chapbook, Stillness Settles Down the Lane (Uttered Chaos Press, 2010) and a full-length book of poems, That Certain Blue (Blue Light Press, 2011). She publishes widely in literary journals and anthologies. She lives in Eugene, Oregon.