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Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson

I have spent the last year researching and writing about women who cannot be known. There are seven dense books sitting on the floor next to the couch. I have police reports with names and numbers blackened out. I have been to Florida and Washington State in search of photographs and interviews. This is as close as I can get. The following poems are a small part of a larger collection that is journalistic in tone and focuses on the intervention of horrific events into everyday lives. The writing presents evil initially as an anonymous force of nature that slowly evolves into a specific perpetrator. The perpetrator is Ted Bundy. Many know Ted Bundy, the serial killer; however, the names we should remember are those of his victims.

Donna Manson March 12, 1974

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Short, often lost
among her thoughts. A poet and dabbler
in alchemy. Depressed by weather.

Last seen in her grandmother's coat
before a Jazz concert at Evergreen State.

Her absence unreported for five
days. She had hitchhiked on a whim

before, and once made it
all the way to Portland.

Jane Curtis April 17, 1974

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The interior light of the yellow
bug did not
go on when he opened
the door. She could see
that the black high backed
passenger seat was missing.

The man, his wool cap pulled
down to his eyebrows,
left arm wrapped in gauze
and a metal splint,
asked her to get in, start the car.

She fled the parking lot.
He stood
next to the car.

Susan Elaine Rancourt April 17, 1974

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A freshman already
focused on biology
and graduate school.
A former homecoming queen
well known for her straight A's,
and seriously brushed teeth. Shy,
but determined to change.

Two days after she went
missing the head
of campus security, Alfred
Pickles, issued a flyer, phoned
her parents in Anchorage,
then delegated
the case to his secretary.

Roberta Kathleen Parks May 6, 1974

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Kathy was having trouble
with geography,
in Corvallis, Oregon.

Her sister phoned
that morning from
Black Point, Nevada,
informing her that
their father, in California,
had suffered a heart
attack, condition stable.

Her boyfriend in
Berwick, Louisiana,
was impatient. Confused,
depressed, drinking,
she took a walk
to clear her head.

Brenda Ball June 1, 1974

The Flame stood on
stacked cinder blocks.
Famous for noise,
fist fights, and missing
persons reports.

Brenda left The Flame the way
one was supposed to – drunk at 2 A.M.
No agenda,
only theoretical
state park destinations
—hitchhiking, her absence
unreported for 16 days.

The first to die in June.

Georgeann Hawkins June 11, 1974

Eighteen, a former Daffodil
Princess, last seen without her contacts in.
For her, college meant good grades,
sororities, tanning, and parties.

Around 1 A.M.,
she left her boyfriend's
along a well-lit alley,
to study for an exam.
One friend spoke to her,
many observed her
in the pools of light
she stuck to in her walk.

Others recalled a tall man
in the alley
a cast on his leg, crutches,
repeatedly dropping
and retrieving a briefcase.

Janice Anne Ott July 14, 1974

A probation officer
with waist length strawberry blond hair,
Jan started her day with a trip to
the Suds Shop Laundromat
across the street from her Issaquah house.
The owner of the Shop
told the police she was friendly.
Braless that morning.

In the afternoon she headed to the lake
on her yellow Tiger ten speed bike.
On the door a note to her roommate:
at Lake Sammamish, sunin myself.

Jan was last seen with a man, walking
from the lake to the parking lot.

Dr. Daris Swindler
a forensic anthropologist
found that a premature closure of the
main cranial suture
in early infancy had
radically elongated
her skull.


If only the hitchhiker could have seen his thoughts,
the way she saw his perspiration,
the car's ripped interior, his crocodile lips.
The way she smelled weed and liquor.
Uneasy at first, she talks,
as he drives. The liquor he shares,
helps. He says there's more
at home, she accepts
his offer.

The beer and couch feel nice,
they kiss. The sex
not worth mentioning.

Sleeping, she does not see his hand,
hover over her body.
Her mouth so easy to cover,
neck so delicate.

Ted steps back
he does not need this
like he needed the others.

When she wakes up in the morning,
he drives her
to the highway.

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