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Valentine The main thing is to let go of hope which is, of course, against all instinct. Instinct says to hold on tight and close our eyes and when we land or stop or pause there will be some well-lighted and familiar scene where we proceed. Last Valentine’s, hope was a balloon: a mylar puff of air that took 3 months to lower from the ceiling, a year to be completely uninflated. It said, “I Love You” in red and silver, weighted with 3 suckers wrapped in ribbon. It covered the slim strip of peeling sheetrock paper, hid the only flaw inside my room. One day last summer I really don’t remember when I noticed it was drooping. I presume it didn’t crash hard to the floor but day-by-day lost altitude. I put it in the closet as though down the line someday I would need proof. And now, heart, now, I am the one brown leaf from the red-oak tree next door, speared by the wind this winter day. It vibrates with an eerie life, dark gold it shudders in the wintry light. Take it think of snowflakes out a Vermont window falling for three days or a million red-oak leaves against our Texas sky. Let them flutter. Let them host an exultation of something that flew that flies. Passing Necessity When I hear the first few bars of Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto, I am humbled like the women on their knees at the Cathedral, who light a chord of candles to San Antonio, the Saint of things mislaid. One summer when I thought I’d die of sadness I met a man who loved the Concerti Madrigalesco and so we thought we’d found the cure for grief. Buoyed in imitation we dipped and rose, resting briefly in each other’s DInquietudine as though the notes lived on inside us, as though our half and fractured songs had been made whole. We lived as though the music could restore what we thought we’d lost. But our Saint failed us. Now I waken rinsed in baroque longing to braid my hair with violins. I hear a score of morning greening through the trees, or fading summer blued by a north wind. These are my Concerti: L’ Amoroso and La Notte, and anything made sweet by flute or mandolin or real by absence. CAMILLE DOMANGUE Camille Domangue, San Antonio native, died March 1, 1998 at the age of 43, after a long, brave struggle with cancer. A graduate of U.T.-Austin, she received an M.A. in writing from Vermont College, Norwich University, and in recent years taught English at San Antonio College. She also worked as a clinical instructor at U.T. Health Science Center and as a research assistant at the Veteran’s Hospital. Two of her poems appeared in The Texas Observer in 1996, and “Passing Necessity” will be included in an anthology, What Have You Lost?, forthcoming from Greenwillow in 1999, Camille is survived by her son, Jack Elliot Russell, age 12, and numerous family members and friends who will always remember her vast intelligence, brilliant spunk, and witty tongue. On the last day she ever spoke to me, Camille stared into a white washrag and said, “This life, caught in the cloth!” Moments later, she shouted, “Selectively!” She did not want to leave so soon. Naomi Shihab Nye APRIL 10, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21