Proximity: A Poem

a headshot of Anna holding her dog
Anna Sverclova
June 2, 2022

Between my friends and I, there is, at any given moment, a never-ending stream of diarrhea. Things I learned over study abroad: wear sunscreen, be wary of the water. In Spanish, I can recall the word for “kidneys” faster than “finches.” The hospital is the most reliable source of AC. I watch my girlfriend shit water. First kiss with a parasite. Chinchorros climb the line of the IV. They say the water at Puerta Ayora will give you a fever. When it rains, all the dog shit falls to the sea. Only tourists swim in the wet season. I believe everything they ever told me about papaya seeds. We’re all always just a little bit sick. We pass it like a baton. If it’s not the water it’s the ice cream, it’s the grasa. Me, Mareol zombie, sunburnt in the shape of my hat. A tentful of mosquitoes. A handful of hydrocortisone cream. We visit our buddy in the hospital and it’s the driest I’ve been in months. My sister texts me, why were you drinking the water? It’s not the water, it’s the pipes. All the funding goes to finch science. The emergency room fills up quick. Another gringa with stomach problems. Another ibuprofen, a handful of meds, a stomach bomb. Is it a parasite? Bacteria? Either way, I’m buying new underwear. I hold my girlfriend’s head on my lap for four straight days. I clean the bathroom because the smell will make her vomit. I’m learning the bodily nature of love. Three months never sweatier, I’m acquainted with the ugliest parts of us. Her, a cacophony of liquids. Me, how quickly I succumb to love. I attach myself to her hip. Being one of two lesbians on the island, I learn how love evolves out of necessity. I let it take me in its sticky fingers. I let it hold me, twist me until I no longer recognize myself in the mirror. Mirror, the ocean never sits still long enough to become one. In the tent a friend develops an allergy to mosquitoes. We listen to the ocean drag its fingers at the shore, in the night not blue but black, the color of a scab. We forgot to bring blankets, so we hold each other all night. We cry at the sunrise. We pull our bodies erect, fall into the water like a synchronized dance. We are too sleep deprived to realize how much we have become each other, five great bodies in a great mimicry. Notice the suffix, cry.

a headshot of Anna holding her dog

Anna Sverclova

My name is Anna Šverclová. I'm a published poet and creative writing major at Macalester College. I love exploring the world around me. You can almost always find me digging in the mud by the river, journal in my back pocket. My writing focuses on my relationship with the world, childhood trauma, and my hometown. I write both for the page and for performance. You can find me at

Home university:
Macalester College
Anoka, Minnesota
Creative Writing
Women's Studies
Explore Blogs