The power of a picture drawn with words

November 2, 2009

These words from a short story by Amy Hempel stopped me in my tracks today. I had to look up all squinty at the trees and pinch the bridge of my nose hard to scare back the sharp lump I suddenly felt in my throat.

“I think of the chimp, the one with the talking hands.

In the course of the experiment, that chimp had a baby. Imagine how her trainers must have thrilled when the mother, without prompting, began to sign to her newborn.

Baby, drink milk.

Baby, play ball.

And when the baby died, the mother stood over the body, her wrinkled hands moving with animal grace, forming again and again the words: Baby, come hug, Baby come hug, fluent now in the language of grief.”

I saw the excerpt today on another blog, and can’t wait to read more.

via Moral Ambiguity

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