With Fluid Steps (Trickling Toward the Lyric’s Edge)

O what is it in me that makes me tremble so at voices?
Surely, whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him or her I shall follow,
As the water follows the moon, silently, with fluid steps anywhere around the globe.

With fluid steps, trickling
toward the lyric’s edge,
indifferent as lips
to fever’s kiss, how drops
of sweat plod as dew must
against flesh resisting

touch, so much resisting
opposed to something must
give up resisting drops
and just give in, trickling
itself with spittled lips,
how this tongue wants to edge,

spirited quips on edge
tiptoe onto pursed lips,
unzip until trickling
whispers ears resisting
their tell let fill with drops
of what god wants we must

not too soon reveal, must
instead, for now, as drops
do on leaves resisting
limp, refuse to break edge,
or wind, withstand trickling
its best this tempest lips

with vigour attempt, lips
bent on deep pores, trickling
fluid breath on fur’s edge
to whiff in licks of must,
taste damage resisting
lustlorn touches its drops

vinegar to sting, drops
vulgar, drops resisting
anything proper, must
be stopped at once but lips
thirst as heaven does, edge
for devils’ thrusts, trickling

          beyond hips to what must
          be on all sinners’ lips,
          sticky fingers trickling.

1Walt Whitman, “Voices”, Part 2, Stanza 1, Lines 1–3, in The Best of Whitman: Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Harold W. Blodgett, published at New York by The Ronald Press Company in 1953; page 205.