On Having a Choice
by Amy L. Sargent

New neighbors move in with a baby girl —
Sarah.  She wades in an orange, inflatable
pool on their front porch.  Naked but for a head
of blond cowlicks and two little teeth,
she splashes and waves at me, screeches,
then laughs, and while the preciousness
of the moment is not lost on me — I notice
the low-lying pollution of toys in their yard.
I can smell her sticky beard of Popsicle juice.
I shut the window, turn up my stereo,
and celebrate mine, this other loud choice.


Amy L. Sargent is an English instructor at Jefferson Community
College in Steubenville, Ohio.  She lives on the outskirts of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania with her husband and their four cats.  Her work has
recently appeared in the
Dalhousie Review, The Iodine Poetry
, and Just West of Athens.

On “On Having a Choice”:
I often feel that being a childless woman gives me two identity
choices—either I belong to the factions of militant childless,
joining their groups and subscribing to their mission statements,
or I concede to being considered a selfish “career woman” who
doesn’t have time for a family (and who will certainly regret it
later).  I’m really neither; I just simply don’t want kids.  “On
Having a  Choice” was an exercise for me in trying to explain
my singular position on the subject, without relying on comedy
or sermon.  

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 1, Number 2
(Fall 2006)

Copyright © 2006
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.