From The Editor

Welcome to Maryland Literary Review. Nice to “meet” you. A pleasure, really.

What the hell am I supposed to say here? Editorial introductions are inherently awkward and ungainly. I don’t know…A few mumbling words about us? We are a Libra. We like words and ideas, also stories. We appear twice a year. Our favorite color is an off-red. We like to garden, cook, and take long walks in the woods. We believe sunsets can be a bit over-rated.

Sorry, let’s start over. We apologize for our wobbly hands. This marks the first issue of our existence, so we fret about first impressions.

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Insistent Animals

Melinda Wilson

Like livestock, we walk the steel maze
to our impersonal deaths, admit design

is a murderer; there is no exit that doesn’t
reduce us to beast, just our bodies’ meat

dragging us down. Afraid of your dwindle
toward dotage, I want longevity like

the Laysan albatross. Her courtship spans
nearly a decade before ... Read More


John G. Rodwan, Jr

Home, boy / Home, boy / Everybody needs a home.
– Iggy Pop


The very rich may differ from the non-rich, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a short story, and not just because they have more money, as Ernest Hemingway wrote in a story of his own. The very poor differ from the non-poor, ... Read More

Interview: Pamela Winters

All questions by Nathan Leslie

Pamela Murray Winters’ first full-length collection of poetry, The Unbeckonable Bird, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. Her poems have appeared in Fledgling Rag, Gargoyle, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Gettysburg Review, Beltway Poetry, and numerous other journals and anthologies. She received an MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts and was awarded ... Read More

To Climb Green Trees

Donald Illich

The sidewalk is sterilized white.
I could eat off its sunlight.
People creep along it like spiders

who could shrink in the heat, leave
this world without their dark webs
I watch this from a window

in an air-conditioned room, a screen
in front of me telling me who is dead,
from bombs, from guns, knives, stars.

I don't ... Read More


Barbara Daniels

Down to the rotting
forest floor, little shocks
of sun, panty-pink,

slip below crowns
of simple-leaved trees.
Green ousts peach,

claiming branches. Layers
of duff drift beneath trees’
heart-murmur utterance,

under the dieback,
witches’ broom, sad trinity
of cloud, tree, cloud.

A filth fly passes through
the low charnel house
... Read More


Kenneth Levine

On Saturday morning, 12/21/63, a date with no prime number unless you count the 2 in 12, the 2 in 21, or the 3 in 63, Richie, my thirteen year old brother, and I, at age eleven, acting on our instinctual understanding of the privilege of seniority as our parents corralled us into the back of their Ford Falcon, ... Read More

Captain Marvel Goes Down in Gigolo Hall of Fame

Daren Dean

When my wife of these last thirty-nine years kicked me out of the house and I quoth "for being a dipshit" the week before the fourth of July, I holed up in a little camper on the other side of town just so I wouldn't have to lay eyes on the heifer. "What's wrong with you?" she demanded to ... Read More

The Liars’ Asylum – Review

Charles Rammelkamp

The Liars’ Asylum by Jacob Appel
Reviewed by Charles Rammelkamp

“The Liars’ Asylum”
Short Stories
Black Lawrence Press, 2017
16.95, 180 pages

The eight stories that make up Jacob Appel’s The Liars’ Asylum are like eight episodes of Seinfeld on steroids, zany plots involving feckless characters whose motives are never so pure, often questionable. All of the stories are ... Read More

Our Fine Old Flat Chested Gal

Jenny Drummey

March 14, 1983

Dear Sir or Madam:

Forgive the vague salutation. I could not determine the current president of the IBTC, so I am hoping this letter reaches the correct party.

I want to share with you the story of my grandmother, who would have been a staunch supporter, probably a ... Read More

Lice: Ode to Schuyler

John Repp
His phrase “starry lice” just stopped me cold. My lice looked coal-black or, if contemplated in damp fluorescence, tick-like in ...
Read More

Assigning a Value

Ace Boggess
Fear equals fear plus the square root of consequences divided by time alone. That’s before factoring in imaginary numbers for ...
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Area Scouts

Tommy Vollman
Tommy Vollman knew he couldn't do it. Soon, the area scouts would figure it out, too. Maybe they already had ...
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Named Storms

Maura Way
Our dormant crabs skipNor'easters. Whole bushelsplay hooky under estuaries.Hunker us down, Mister Savory.  Follow obeliskedbellies beneath silt andsediment, only antennae ...
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Meetup Ugly

Rikki Santer
Home from the produce section with scaly hides of Jackfruit, the host had snubbed the Honey Crisps that flashed waxed ...
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We Sleep However We Can

Michael Mingo
after Fernand Léger's painting Animated Landscape Even in modern cities,where the buildings overlapwith metal-tinted façades,there's always space to rest and ...
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The Boycott

Charles Rammelkamp
Even though my dad’s distant relative –mine, too, of course – was buried in the only Jewish military cemetery in the world, ...
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Sarah, Reptile Wrangler

Jon Riccio
Puberty’s passé when a gila out-dappers your scene, ball python flubbing a bearded dragon’s take. You should see how I ...
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Toti O'Brien
Kind of square, kind of squat—that’s how she perceives herself. Compact—each part of her body a modest excrescence kept within ...
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Prosthetic Limb Factory

Yvonne Amey
Marry that man mama says so I say soon as he gets outta prison mama, then mama goes and pulls ...
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Here to Make Friends

Michael B. Tager
We first saw her on that mini-season of the Real World that only ran on MTV3. The one in Nashville ...
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Thirties Movie

Richard Cecil
Father’s nasty-proud, Mother’s vain,Sonny’s an alcoholic, and Sis is a flirtwho teases the chauffeur. She’s long engagedto a weak-chinned junior ...
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How They Come Back to Us

Naomi Thiers
Those who have died—their roots still spread,their fires still spread, smoking underground. They emerge as tree roots will, bursting out ...
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Moses and Ronald Reagan are Beautiful

Steve Romagnoli
My mother is fat. She is not plump. She’s not heavy or stout, slovenly or rotund. Just fat. A fat ...
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Recover Me

Jennifer Benningfield
Giving his spouse carte blanche in matters of interior decoration had year in and year out proven to be a ...
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Abigail Newton Goes to Church Alone Again

Brooks Rexroat
The smiling man at the coffee bar is attentive and careful as he pours pumpkin spice flavored coffee. But he’s ...
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The Manifesto of the Scones

Frankie McMillan
My uncle Ivan was a communist. He said if we’d read the books he’d read, we’d all be communists. My ...
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Schrodinger’s Raccoon

CL Bledsoe
Paul didn’t stir when Sheila got up or when she found Matt asleep in the hallway. It was sometime after ...
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Patrick Bernhard
The single dead bulb in the garage rattled as the blizzard tore its nails against the siding. Colton sat on ...
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People in the Sun, 1960

Diana Pinckney
Maybe I am not very human. What I wantedwas to paint sunlight on the side of a house. —Edward Hopper ...
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Low Tide

Miriam N. Kotzin
Elegant scraps of blue satin,channels meander through meadows,In the shadows, violet spills into pools.           The redwing ...
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Patience at the Fence

Sheila E. Murphy
Always I overhear the overbearing neighbors fail to wince where I would fall back on my store of tiptoe. Radical ...
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Human Song

Sid Gold
How strange to have come all this wayon the path toward perfect ignorance& to have stopped here, a man alone ...
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Losing Clemente

Sally Toner
I wonder what my father thought of himself after he left, given the one rule he emphasized the most was ...
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Cherry Picking

Kerry Trautman
Quarts 1 & 2 The kids rush out with me to help, the three-year-old mumble-chanting, “Just dark red ones, just ...
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Kim Roberts
The alchemist experiments and repeats. See his bench: alembics and crucibles, tubes and mortars, bottles of alum, cassia, aconite and ...
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A Girl in the Dark

Kathryn Kulpa
If I was a different kind of girl my face would be on every tabloid. Every evening news story, every ...
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Lush Life

Gregory Luce
It has to be Johnny Hartmanwith Trane framing thatvoice that flows smoothand rich like a riverof barrel proof bourbonrippling with ...
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