Mea Cohen


I stay awake to the sound of lonely, exhausted from walking across bridges. A garbage can clatters to its side in the street. Rats are hungry to eat its contents. They chirp a happy chorus and the tune carries through my bedroom window on the back of yellow light from the street lamp. 

I lay in bed, held only by darkness. The yellow doesn’t touch me. I join the shrieking rats. I grieve forced cries from my throat. It sounds like shredded laughter, like broken glass bottles crunching under foot.

Had I any shards, I’d scrape them against my cheek to feel something, anything other than lonely. 


My mother won’t look at me.

I am the bird caught in the house, flapping its wings, breaking heirlooms on the fireplace mantle. Trapped and only looking for a way out.

She can’t look at me, or 
she can’t see me.

I can’t decide, can’t decipher. 

I am the bat in the attic, sleeping all day long, coming alive at night, alive with the dark blue and the stars as my guide, seeing nothing, hearing everything, alive, alive, alive.

My mother isn’t paying me any fucking mind.

I shout at her. Look, look, look!

I am a cicada, shrieking my other-wordly song all summer long, to anyone who will listen, even those
who won’t. 


I turn to you and with my mouth I say save me. But with my hands on your chest, I’m really saying sorry. Sorry for my need. A girl is not supposed to need such things, is she. Is she? But I need. 

I bite your shoulder and I’m apologizing further, promising to leave a mark. A girl can die from the outcome of such an action, and I’m hoping to die a little with you. I’m hoping to die a little, baby. I’m young and still immortal-minded. I know a little death won’t kill me, really. So, I bite down harder, apologize deeper, and you grow with empathy. 

You spit on my face, and I don’t wipe it away, because that’s how sorry I am. I pull at you and pull at you, and you reach for me too. We play a game of tug of war, I cry out, and pull at you until you come loose. We both come loose, fall apart. I am made of how I made you feel. I’m not sorry anymore. 

Mea Cohen’s work has appeared in The West Trade Review, The Gordon Square Review, OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters, The Pinch, Passengers Journal, On The Run, and Five on the Fifth. She received an MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook University, where she was a Contributing Editor for The Southampton Review. She is the Founder and Editor of The Palisades Review.