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.