My patient, a teacher, came early for her appointment that morning, breath tight, fingers stiff against her palms, something needed to be said before we could begin: There’s a black man standing outside the building. I thought you should know.
—Yes, his name is John; he’s going to do some painting for the landlord—the old coat is cracked and peeling.
The invisible ivory tusks, how they gore and haunt us, their shadow so heavy. My whole life here, I’ve never ever heard it said: There’s a white man standing outside the building.