Diane LeBlanc

Notes from Paradise

No matter how slowly we ride our bicycles,

we arrive an hour before the birds.


Rain is nothing compared to your body

pissing and counting stars.


After we repair the roof, the sky leaks.

You bring me a vase of nails blooming orange.


Mornings arrive in multiples of nine,

your dreams forgotten bulbs.


We remove our shoes to hear, underfoot,

marigold song and ants bickering through dry soil.


At some point it no longer matters if

our bodies are beaded gourds or radishes.


The sea and its fossils tread lightly

in the quiet noon of our bones.


Without patterns, violins wander

while darkness strains stars for dinner.



Winter night. Rain tries the trees. White lights chirp against darkness. I’m excavating spice jars shoved behind coffee and vitamins in a kitchen cupboard. Too much has expired. I shake and sniff and dip my fingers until they are a confusion of curry and clove and ginger. Some tastes linger. But old nutmeg is a lie. Nervous, bitten, and bored. Why didn’t I use the allspice? I once made winter cookie rings with cardamom. Eating them was like swallowing the bisque of dawn when anything is possible, before I remember who has died, who has been elected, who we are now without parents and the poets we never imagined dying. Tonight, the wind exiles November, and I stay behind. No place like this cupboard to find the years tracking their golden powder and the dust of loss.



Diane LeBlanc is a writer, teacher, and book artist. She has published four poetry chapbooks: This Space for Message (2017), Sudden Geography (2014), Dancer with Good Sow (2008), and Hope in Zone Four (1998). Poetry and essays appear in Bellingham Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Journal, Mid-American Review, Water~Stone Review, and other journals. She co-authored Playing for Equality: Oral Histories of Women Leaders in the Early Years of Title IX (2016). Diane directs the writing program and teaches at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

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