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from Etymologies



A pilgrim on his way to Lake Chad will think the oasis a double-mirage, for its name comes from Kanuri tsade, “lake.” On the edge of this Lake Lake at the end of the Desert Desert, he stands with his body twinned in the water, and wonders which of him is word and which object. The songs of the bathers, the lanterns making glyphs of the far shore, a pink conch-shard whose curve suggests the whole—these call out to him, and by their pull on his heart, he knows the standing him is word, and that the object to which all he refers is his reflected self, the one so easily scattered.


Walter Ancarrow lives in New York City and sometimes Alexandria, Egypt. His first book, Etymologies, won the 2021 Omnidawn Open and will be published April 2023.

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