Somniluquyphobia

by Mónica Garcia

At sixteen, I was told I couldn’t hold in my voice in my sleep,
and every night when I shifted my body, words followed restless sleep.

My mother told me how her mother hid house keys, afraid of her daughter 
rising corpse-like and slipping into the night instead of just speaking, all while asleep.

One night, I recorded my throat gasping out con todo lo puedo sentir
aqui and imagined my hand thumping against my chest, drunk with sleep.

I tried to cover my lips, muffling my mouth with cotton sheets,
but as I kept getting tangled in the fibers, syllables slipped through sleep.

When I tried to fit an explanation neatly into the box of myself, I found Somniloquy, 
a jumbled latin word, when broken apart, murmuring loqui (speak) and somnus (sleep).

So what are we doing my disembodied voice asked me one night.
I couldn’t answer, instead turning towards and away from my pillow, sleepless.

Less and less could I close the shutters of my eyes, afraid what my tongue
would let loose when I couldn’t be awake to stop it. This sleep-

talking I’ve somehow inherited from my mother like an accent,
like her real voice asking Mónica, is it over? But it’s in my sleep.

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