Coronation Chicken

by Maria Masington

The regal name, so important sounding, that I ordered without reading the ingredients.
It’s basically chicken salad. No pomp, no circumstance, just meat, apricots, mayonnaise,
served cold.

I felt the same letdown on what I was told would be the happiest day of my life. Love, but
no joy, just an overwhelming sense of impending responsibility to keep him safe and alive.
The task seemed daunting at 25.

Queen Elizabeth was 25 when she took the throne, national responsibility placed upon her head
encased in a five-pound crown of jewels. A gold trimmed cloak, the literal weight of the world,
draped around her stoic shoulders.

Holding my seven-pound baby, I felt the burden. The yoke around my neck. I was chicken,
sans fruit, sans dressing, postpartum depression butchering my dried-up carcass.

Positive he’d be better off with another mother, scared to bathe him, terrorized by his cry, I
crumbled as he turned his head away, weaning himself at five-weeks-old, and behind the
disappointment, relief.