Creative Writing

Non-fiction Samples

Where You Once Stood Stand
By Mick Kendig


Where, When, What

In Millersville, Maryland there stands a sprawling brick box built in 1975. It is hugged by townhouses and small single-family homes in all stages of life from newborn suburban box houses.
and the gaudy teen struggling for your attention in their trendy craftsmen dressing to the demure
adult houses content in their white and tan conformity with their well-adjusted families. The
Brick Box is frequently said to have been the work of an ex-prison architect trying his hand at a
new hopeful medium.

You’d never guess he’d done anything different from his previous work though
after looking at that squat, weed-infested building with few to no windows
(all of which are foggy plastic, not glass).

The only splash of color on this mud red building is the red, white, and blue lettering identifying
the building as “Old Mill Patriots”. This Brick Box was both my middle school and my high school all wrapped up
in one bursting and barely functioning building. The building housed two middle schools:
Old Mill North, Old Mill South, and Old Mill Highschool.

This may not seem like a good idea. In fact, it was frequently proven
to be a bad idea.

Forgotten Pieces of a Jigsaw Puzzle
By Mick Kendig


Beginnings: Two Are Better Than One
Puerto Rico
Yaurel, Arroyo – May 6th, 1926

A baby girl is born to Francisco Perez and Amelia Velazquez. She disobeyed her father’s wishes and arrived 2 weeks earlier than discussed. This would be the only time she disobeyed her father.

She takes her first breath of air. Her lungs hadn’t known what they were for until this moment and reacts poorly to this first gulp of air forcing their inflation. That wasn’t what they were for was it? The rush of oxygen is sharp in her previously submerged lungs and she lets loose a wet cry that shakes the room with her discomfort. Francisco takes the small bundle in his arms and whispers admonishments at her early arrival. His brow creases, “What are you doing little one? I told you to be on time, not early, not late.” He slowly sways the baby in his arms. “Shhh, your mother is tired”. Francisco nods to his wife asleep in their bed and sweat-drenched after a long and strenuous labor. “Shhh, you must behave yourself, sweet girl”. She peeks half a glance at her father as he speaks. Her breaths get easier and easier until she’s quiet. Her lungs stretch and settle into an easy rise and fall. She hardly makes a sound after that.

Fiction & Micro Fiction Samples

The Witching Hour
By Mick Kendig


She glances at the passenger seat. Blood speckles the tan canvas of her duffel bag. She didn’t realize how much there was. She didn’t think he would hear her. She didn’t hear him. He was supposed to be asleep. But there had he stood gripping her bag, the one she had behind the washer he never touched and then the bag was connecting with her face and she was in fight mode, no flight mode, no both. They’re
the same when you’re cornered.

What she did hear was the thud of metal on his skull when the lamp connected with his head. What she heard was his slow exhale as he doubled over and clutched his newly slick head, his gasp when she wrenched her arm free from his grasp, his scream when she shut the door on the hand straining to retain its grip on her bag, and finally the sound of an engine starting – the sound of promise and possibility.
The mist rises like the tide climbing until it engulfs the shore. It becomes a deep fog that blankets the road. Up ahead it seems to glow. She finds that ominous, but the glow of the yellow lane markings piercing through the fog reminds her of her mother’s porch light, too. It reminds her of someone waiting to make sure she got home safe. She focuses on that image, turning it over in her mind, trying to grasp it and make it reality.
She begins breathing intentionally, noting each movement of her breath.

She’s okay. Everything will be fine, she thinks. The worst is behind her.

She can’t remember the last time her breaths weren’t choked and ragged, forcing their way through bruised pipes. She remembers his breaths though, heavy and steaming as they were. They pushed down on her, smothering her under their unwanted weight.  

You Say
By Mick Kendig


You say, “I’m sorry” because you forgot to send him that email. You say, “I’m sorry” because the dog came back covered in mud and tracked it throughout the house. Because dinner was over-cooked apparently. You say, “I’m sorry” because you don’t want to hear your mother’s, “I told you so”. Because once a month she gives you that look when you drop off the kids. You say, “I’m sorry” because you made a choice 10 years ago that good Christian women stand by and you are a good Christian woman, damn it. You say, “I’m sorry” because that is the woman’s role according to your Sunday sermons. You say “I’m sorry” because his voice is getting louder, and veins are beginning to surface. Because doors are slamming, and the garage door opens at 1 am. Because you cling to your Bible as if it can save you. You say “I’m sorry” because at night you whisper on the telephone with your sister-in-law as you sniffle and rage and apologize again. Because you spend every day walking among broken glass afraid you’ll lose your balance. You say “I’m sorry” because it’s easier than having the same fight over again, and again, and again. Because you know that things will never change. Because it’s been 10 years and you don’t have your own bank account anymore. Because you believe you deserve the separate beds and the soon-to-be estranged son. Because you chose wrong. You say “I’m sorry” because you don’t know how else to preserve the ties connecting your family. Because you refuse to see the barbed wire wrapped around them for anything but a thread. Because you spent five dates finding a man able to give you a family home full of kids. Because then, finally, someone would need you and love you like you needed and loved them. You say “I’m sorry” because it’s all too much for you to bear. You say “I’m sorry” because there’s a gnawing, whimpering thing in you pulling you down, trying to stick your leg in a trap. You say “I’m sorry” because you desperately wished for a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and to be surrounded by grandbabies. Because the empty seat at dinner remind you of when you were twelve and your mom avoided your eyes as your dad walked out the door. You know that screaming and fighting for love and family doesn’t keep people together but kissing ass and guilt can.


From Across the Table
Sitting criss-cross applesauce with your thumb 
resting between your teeth you remind me 
of days spent scouring the woodline to find 
clusters of honeysuckles and coxing 
the safeguarded droplets onto our tongues 
or nights sitting on sandpaper shingles 
and tracing the hazy tails of airplanes
blotting out Orion and all the stars
we no longer recognize until pins
begin to sink into my skin when you
remind me of prickly dust-covered things:
sweaty palms shoved inside too small pockets
and salt rubbed out from under eyelashes
and cold iron clasps around my ankle.
Sometimes I Worry
Because the air mattress you slept on 
Popped 10 months ago and 
the futon that took its place
Now has worn in dents.

at 1 AM
I hear your
Muffled gasps and
Wet breaths
Against your pillow
And I worry 

Because when you speak 
of the future 
You think I don’t notice
That you don’t include yourself.

So, sometimes 
When I come home and 
you’re not there and no one 
can tell me where you went
I fear you’re crushed 
within mangled metal.
I fear I’m newly orphaned

Because ever since
I can remember,
You have folded your hands .
and asked God to take you home

At age 13 I stopped folding hands
To a God that let your every step
be over broken glass

But sometimes
Sometimes, when you talk about
Walking across cobblestones streets,
The Mediterranean to your left
and new freckles squeezing
onto your already crowded skin
I think I see your shoulders soften,
And scar tissue forming over old wounds. 
My hands get ready to fold and thank God 
until you tell me “I’m fine”
and I worry some more.
What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting
You asked me yesterday
If there was 			
I was interested in.

Your nephews and nieces
Are so picket fence, 
                      so nuclear
and you hope I will be too. 

You can hear the
Distant ring of a rattle
Echoing from 
My future and 
you want to know 
when to start 

I told you 
                there’s no one”
That’s partially true

when you say 
You really mean 
You really mean 
                  “some man”

And I’m not looking for
`	      I’m not looking for 
some man
              I’m not looking

But, when I do look 
There won’t be
             Swollen feet or
             Lamaze classes
waiting for me.

That made you cry.

In your mind,
You’re rubbing my swollen stomach
And sharing a grainy,
black and white photo
with my aunts.

I’m sorry.

My future might include crayon drawings 
clinging to your fridge
                just not 
from chubby little hands originating from
           from my body, 
           though I may be.
Snapchat Memories
[I got a notification for 3 years ago today. You were draped over a lawn chair and crushing a guitar against your chest. I tried to exit that memory but entered the next. We were on your roof and the scent of marijuana was on the air and I couldn’t believe I didn’t erase those photos.]

Your birthday 
from my calendar 

Your number 
from my phone

all 3 of your Insta’s 
blocked and your mother’s too.

[So, do you think you could leave me alone? I haven’t spoken to you since Prom,
though by then you weren’t returning my calls. You never told me why. All I knew was that your mom stopped commenting on my posts]


Our friends 
from back then 
always ask me how you are. 


You linger, 
Even though I always reply 

“I don’t care “.
First times
Fiddling fingers try to
Elicit frantic whispers
And quench the raw need
Spurring on this delirious worship
Unable to help themselves 
They caress your honey skin
Because at any moment 
You could disappear, evaporate.
Mist dispersed upon
A wanton breeze.

The work of 
Tentative hands 
Is all the more 
Eager to please.
How Do I Sleep
When my thoughts are riddled with 
pins and with needles 

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 

When my skin’s prickling like each 
nerve has been exposed 

17, 18, 19, 20, 21 

When there’s a bed of nails where  
my mind wants to lie 

33, ,34, 35, 36, 37

I can only sleep when you’re
there to hold me down