The part of the back (or backbone) between the shoulder blades and the loins which an animal cannot reach to scratch; the part of the human back between the shoulder blades.
– Oxford English Dictionary
When my sister had been dead ten months,
my parents went out of town for the weekend.
A long evening before me, with nothing planned.
Outside the open door of her room, I stood in the hallway.
Inside, the undisturbed detritus of a hospital stay:
get well messages, suncatchers, stuffed bears.
I closed her door. Stood outside it, brows knit.
Better, but not quite there. Opened it. Went back in.
Turned on a lamp. Closed the door. Stood outside again.
Closed my eyes and, willing them to see anew,
reopened them to that thin line of glow
between carpet and wood. Yes: getting closer,
approaching something. Went in yet again. Slid
in a CD that I hated but she loved. Turned it up loud.
Closed the door. Pivoted, walked to my own bedroom.
Emptied my mind. Spun and strode the hallway again,
carefully not looking directly at her door as I passed.
An old pinch of annoyance at that stupid song. Paced
in the muffled din outside her door for half an hour
like that, trying to work out a piece of grit, or else
turn it to a pearl