a thin

Amy didn't eat during the month she spent online searching for clues for Anna's disappearance. Yuki plucked at her shoulder at night when she finally came home and gave her old hardened umaboshis. Sophie tucked bags of thick salami sandwiches in Amy's backpack. Kit insisted on picking her up at the college taking her to the Harvest House and plying her with monstrous vegetarian lasagna and thick cups of cinnamon tea.

Her grades went to pot as she took midterms mechanically, barely stopping to figure out which class was which.

The webserver administrator of Coyote's Daughter, where Anna's web site was hosted naturally enough, refused to give her the password for Anna's website, and she couldn't find an FTP connection to it from the family mac's Fetch program. "That site is paid for in perpetuity," he added in a postscript to Amy's e-mail query. "And don't even bother to ask, because I can't tell you who paid for it or who maintains it now. Privacy, you know."

Evidently, Anna hadn't created it at home. She asked Dan, a tech she knew well enough at the University of Colorado, to go into the ISP and crack Anna's website for her.

"Why?" he asked her. She swore him to absolute secrecy and then told him about Anna. Her sister had to have written more, had to have told her why she disappeared. Anna wouldn't have left without a trace, Amy concluded. There must be something.

"That's an awful thin lead you have there," he said. "Besides, how do you know she isn't just in some coffee shop off Telegraph Avenue bumming ecstasy or coke or whatever?"

"I don't," Amy replied. "But I have to know."

drops fall / into the swirling / stream / their sides dissolving / into each other / each rolls off / a thin / oak branch.

the word is / the sound / of water / dripping from/ ancient symbols / tiny particles / of merging / realities