The Last Spring

For Fireblossom’s prompt at Real Toads – day 29 of Nannerpuddin – almost the last day. “This isn’t the end, but the end is just around the corner. That’s what I’d like us to write about. Sometimes, the moment just before something ends is as poignant as the actual ending. One could write about the Twin Towers on 9/10, with business going on as usual, never knowing what the morning would bring. Or, one could keep the focus much smaller, and write about a love affair about to end, but which hasn’t actually ended just yet.” This is also being posted on Poets United Poetry Pantry. Come join us for bittersweet.

The Last Spring
The last spring was the most beautiful
nor has there been one more beautiful since.
The cherry trees wept their petals down
to the graveled surface of our kare-sansui –
Our miniature Ryo-anji.
You were returning to Japan.
After 18 years in America you were returning home.
I was staying here.
The last night together I slept downstairs.
You slept upstairs.
I was already putting distance between us –
Most of the furniture sold along with your
baby grand piano and my Thermidor stove.
I was moving to a tiny apartment that did not smell of you,
that did not have any of our past life together
screaming at the boxes and empty spaces
I took you to the airport and walked you to your waiting area.
All words had been said but you had to have the last few.
You cupped my face in your hands
and your almond shaped eyes were filled with tears.
I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul, you said,
My eyes were desert dry.
I turned my back on you and walked away.

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherry Marr
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 15:40:04

    I feel the pain of that turning and walking away. The beauty of that last spring. Sigh. I really felt this one, Toni.


  2. ayala
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 16:05:15

    Sigh…moving to an apartment that does not have the smell of the one you love…walking away…trying to survive the separation.


  3. Kerry O'Connor
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 16:26:40

    I do not do partings well this one made me shudder deep inside.


  4. Victoria C. Slotto
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 19:11:01

    The acuteness of this wrenching loss–vividly represented in this, Toni. Some endings stay with us forever.


  5. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 20:35:18

    A wonderful and wrenching poem, Toni; magnificent writing. Beautiful powerful, devastating … and I can feel the deep truthfulness which makes it so devastating yet beautiful. (As an aside, I am also struck by what a huge thing it must have been for him, to go back home after 18 years in another country.)


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 29, 2018 @ 20:54:01

      He is a forensic MD. He felt he could best help his people by identifying suicides and other unidentified people. If I had gone with him, he would have lost face for being with a white woman. He would have had a lesser job and I would have been looked upon as a “hostess”. We talked and argued about this for a year. In the end Japan won. They are an insular people. Japan always wins.

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  6. coalblack
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 21:43:05

    You are always so skilled at painting a moment and all the richness and bittersweetness it holds. I read with interest your reply to Rosemary; that only made it all the more immediate.


  7. kanzensakura
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 22:06:08

    It was a great time but then, it wasn’t.


  8. Jim
    Apr 29, 2018 @ 22:54:36

    I love it, Toni, I fit in here very well. It was I who rented the small apartment, holed up and started paying off all the credit cards. We had a lot! I even took our an unlisted phone number, cell phones weren’t invented yet.
    One day I called my old Sunday School teacher who was a lawyer to ask him about the divorce papers I had been served. He said to read through them and that he felt I was intelligent enough to understand everything but offered his help if I needed it.
    He ended our conversation by telling me that “God still loved me even when I felt no one else in the whole world did.” That sounded real corny at the time but later it soaked in better. I now use those words when someone unloads their sob story on me and I don’t have any thing better to say. Some later tell me they appreciated it very much.


  9. kim881
    Apr 30, 2018 @ 01:54:01

    Even though I know this story from previous poems, Toni, it is so fresh! Separating in April is poignant, as the summer ahead looks bleak, especially when:
    ‘The last spring was the most beautiful
    nor has there been one more beautiful since’.
    How hard it must have been not to cry and to walk away.


    • kanzensakura
      Apr 30, 2018 @ 02:08:34

      I had face to save. When I got back to my car I broke down and cried for an hour until I could drive away. To this day I do not remember getting to the car.

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  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Apr 30, 2018 @ 04:35:04

    I have read about your parting in so many ways, but I think this is the rawest I’ve read yet. That last night when all had been said, I felt that the spring was mocking you in a way…


  11. qbit
    Apr 30, 2018 @ 09:17:17

    “The cherry trees wept their petals down”!!!!!


  12. grapeling
    Apr 30, 2018 @ 12:51:24

    Toni, a fabulous and wrenching pen in equal measure ~


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