Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Jamie's Hair

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Jamie's Hair

Article excerpt

For our son, a teacher of German, among the slain at Virginia Tech, April 16, 2007

i. He scooped it with deft, long-fingered hands and tamed it with an elastic band, or let it hang loose on the flat bony cliff of his back. His hair declared him his own bohemian, a middle-class free spirit with a mortgage to pay down, a racing bike, a subscription to Netflix, and a frau as deceptively frail as Hans Memling's palest Madonna.

ii. Married, he cut it but twice and only to give away. He then looked like a soldier or a monk-though neither calling set his mind afire as did the table saw or the digital collage. Long again, his hair gave him a faint resemblance to the rock star he aped at a party-"Famous Dead People"-two months before falling into his own celebrity, if only for fourteen minutes.

iii. Riding shotgun in a dry-ice mental fog, I carried his hair back from the mortuary in a Ziploc freezer bag. …

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