The Journal, Fall 2015

Page 76



Apologia for Not Wanting Children By: MELISSA FITE JOHNSON

I come home from work, collapse my bags on the table, find you standing over a boiling pot. You give a low whistle as Jarrod Dyson steals third on the radio, then purse your lips for a kiss. The dog gallops in, a few beats later than he used to. We wince as he scatterpaws over hardwood. He shuffles, not limps, away. You exhale. I place my wedding ring in the dish where it clinks against yours, fill the sink. Outside, the chickens dance the mashed potato, dig their clawed feet in dirt. I twist the dishwand inside a coffee mug. When Alex Gordon hits a home run, we rush into the living room to watch the replay on the muted TV. Nothing is missing. No baby cries from a blanket spread on the floor as if for a picnic of bottled breast milk and dry Cheerios. No chubby arms reach for me. No hands open and close like lips desperate for words. But nothing is missing. You have my full attention. I have yours. (first published in Seattle Review)