When the hygienist reclines me, I feel important
ffffffffffffuntil the mini-light tilts

into my eyes. Only a minute, she says about the surgeon

 fffffffffffand anesthesia. My tooth doesn’t hurt now but
has for months—left-side wisdom I kept

ffffffffffffffffpressing into its socket like it’d work

again. In the doorway, the surgeon calls my name.
ffffffffHis slicked-back hair wouldn’t budge in a coastline

convertible ride, blue eyes like almost

ffffffffffffffffevery white crush I’ve had. Where are you from?
he sits and asks. Maryland, I say, getting ready

fffffffffor the needle. No, I mean—like I’ve misunderstood

him—where’s your family from? I say Hong Kong
because I’m not quick or brave enough. Because

I live in the most liberal town in Indiana. For this I should

ffffffffbe grateful, as if racism can’t touch me
here, wouldn’t dare come near a We Welcome All

ffffffffffffffffplacard or bumpersticker that says Coexist.
The hygienist asks, Have you seen all the Chinese

ffffffffinternational students on campus? With their very

expensive cars? I remember I’ve paid for this posture
ffffffffffffffffof examination, for a needle and someone to lift

my pain. I don’t know what to do with the fact

ffffffffof my money or the body I’ve laid on this cushioned
chair. My son is Korean, the surgeon says, leaning towards

ffffffffffffffffme with the needle. Hold tight, he says, it’ll pinch.