Welcome to Issue 3 of Literature for Life. Download PDF version here.
The Brooklyn TolstoyDoug Benerofe
This is my daughter’s first day of her latest protest. Katie won’t come down from our backyard tree house unless I let her get a second hole pierced in each ear. I’d pierce her ears myself if it weren’t for the existence of boys. After all, it’s not the earrings and eyeliner and rouge by […]
Fascination: PoemsYvonne M. Estrada
The rooster comes upon his reflection.
Repeated explosions of wings, he unfolds,
puffs up, bear size, claws click and scratch,
huge chest batters the glass clatters
loose in the frame, a miracle that it does not break.
When she looked in the mirror she saw a […]
Laurie scuffed her black high-tops along the sidewalk, feeling ready to self-combust, like those people you read about in the pages of the National Enquirer who suddenly burst into flames at the dinner table. She was so tired of being Laurie Greenspan, loser, also-ran. She played the scene at the falafel stand over and over […]
Folsom AlleyRebecca Gonzales
He keeps telling me it’s not good to live here, we should move; we argue about this.
We have been arguing about this since before he officially moved in about six months ago. He says that he will not raise a child here, in this hood. I imagine he is just scared. He grew up […]
The Dog Who Solved a Murder Mystery: A True StoryJoel Jacobsen
When the snow finally let up, someone had to go check on the cattle. It wasn’t a matter of the family getting together and agreeing about it—there was no point in agreeing when there was nothing to disagree about. It just had to be done. Tomás, at 32 the oldest of the Martínez boys, threw […]
1181 Durfee Avenue: 1983 to 1986Michael Jaime-Becerra
Between the fourth and sixth grades, you are seized by three deep and compulsive obsessions:
Marvel comic books (all things Daredevil and X-Men and Spiderman)
BMX bicycles (yours: a secondhand Mongoose, unwieldy and spray-painted black after you stripped the frame down to its bare chrome-moly tubing)
Your parents find all […]
Marcus froze when he heard the clack-clack-clack of hard-soled shoes on concrete, coming his way. He dropped to his knees behind the hedge and peered through the rangy mass of jagged-leaved foliage as green and shiny as plastic. As the woman stepped into the orange glow of a streetlight Marcus clenched his fists. Goddamn, it […]
Luster Little bent over the bathtub, spreading his khakis lengthwise across its still water. When one side of the tan pants had been saturated, heavy and blue, he lowered the khakis even deeper into the water until they were deep wet. He held the farthest edge of the right pant leg with one hand, the […]
“I am dust and to dust I shall return.”
I’m watching ESPN, and Tony Reali, from the Around the Horn program, has a giant, black smudge on his forehead. If I were still a practicing Catholic, I too would bear the mark of Ash Wednesday, and I’d have something in mind to sacrifice over the […]
Janice Estrada, one of the twelve Tagalog girls in my class, was throwing her sixth birthday party. Auntie Patsing drove me to her house and mingled with her parents in the living room, while I and a few other girls were upstairs in her bedroom. Janice’s mom was a nurse, and her dad was in […]