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?