Hopwood Room – Michigan Quarterly Review

Hopwood Room

“Betty Brown Calling,” by Michael Byers

But the job, like the others, had its pleasures. When a voice did answer to the name on the list it seemed to Caroline a piece of luck, and to use a false identity was a wonderful novelty. She was Betty Brown. She had heard of actors who were nervous stammering people while offstage but who became fluid and confident once concealed behind the mask of a character. Now she knew how they felt.

Chinese calligraphy carved into a painted wooden wall

Angel Island

at the Angel Island Immigration Station our bodies levitated in minutes, ticking, ticking, alive, alive; forgo mercy and forgo hunger; slurp the pig slop; our muscles in 1911, 1912, we turned ghost and ghost again

Imagined Life

My father doesn’t say, “Don’t tell.” He doesn’t say much at all. The way to end the silence he gave me was to write this sentence: “I’ll tell you what I suppose from your silences and few words, and you can tell me that I’m mistaken.”

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