By Valerie Martínez Valerie Martinez
Turn it over and look up
into the sphere of heaven.   
The tracery is lucent,   
light seeping through to write,   
white-ink your face, upturned.   

Swing it below
and it's a cradle of blue water,   
the sea, a womb.
A mixing bowl   
for Babylonian gods.
Here, they whirl up the cosmos.   

Pick it up and your hands
form a pedestal,
and all who drink
contain the arcs
of body and the universe—
and between them,   

no imaginable tear or distance.

"Bowl" by Valerie Martinez from World to World, published by University of Arizona Press. Copyright 2004 by Valerie Martinez. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: World to World (The University of Arizona Press, 2004)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Valerie Martínez

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Nature, Faith & Doubt, Religion, Stars, Planets, Heavens

Poetic Terms Imagery

 Valerie  Martínez


Poet, translator, teacher, playwright, librettist, and collaborative artist Valerie Martínez was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She earned a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Her books of poetry include Absence, Luminescent (1999), World to World (2004), And They Called It Horizon (2010), the limited-edition chapbook This is How it Began (2010), and the book-length poem, Each and Her . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Faith & Doubt, Religion, Stars, Planets, Heavens

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Imagery

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.