I tell myself you’re where you’re meant to be

with the elephants and the lake that floods and the mangrove trees spilling their muddy roots deep, deep down

with the sweat and the bats and the gumboots

with sun that rises when my moon is dawning.

I tell myself you’re where you’re meant to be although my heart says ‘I want you here, here, here.’

I tell myself I’m where I’m meant to be

but it’s much harder to believe.

I’m learning, sure.

I’m growing deeper, wiser, but not brighter.

I’m struggling to accept the darkness while knowing one day there will be light.

I’m watching dandelions burst out over entire fields of new grass

fighting to believe their promise of hope.

I’m reading blog post after blog post written by old students and knowing you’re not reading mine.

I’m searching for pictures of you because I haven’t seen your face in oh so long.

I hear your laugh in my dreams and I hold on like it could keep me afloat.

I’m tired of treading water

but I’m unwilling to let myself drown

or drift away to somewhere else

because anyplace without you isn’t worth going to.

I hope you’re happy because of course that’s what I want for you

but sadness still fills the space you left behind.

is it so wrong to hope that perhaps the space I left still aches inside of you?

in this screwed up world part of me wishes something will always be broken

until we find our way to the same soil.

I don’t care if it’s night or day, humid or dry, raining or blazing, Khmer or English

I just want to hear you say, ‘I’ll try.’

because my heart never wants to leave yours behind

no matter how many times dusk and dawn fill our separate skies.