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  4. Bowl by Valerie Martínez

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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)
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  • 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 (Camino del Sol) (2010), which won the Arizona Book Award and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Open Book Award, the William Carlos William Award, and the Ron Ridenhour Prize. Her work has been published in journals, magazines, anthologies, and media outlets including The Best American Poetry, the Washington Post, and the Poetry Foundation’s “Poetry Everywhere” series. Martínez also translated the work of the Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini (1886–1914), published as the collection A...

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