Skip to main content

The book's key figure is a preternaturally self-conscious pig being driven to market who staunchly refuses to squeal or break down. The pig in the elegiacally titled poem "Animals Are Passing from Our Lives,", a Bartleby of the animal world, can already smell "the sour, grooved block... / the blade that opens the hole / and the pudgy white fingers / / that shake out the intestines / like a hankie," but he refuses to fall down in cowardice or terror, resolutely keeping his dignity, proclaiming "No. Not this pig." In a way, the pig is a tough, metaphorical stand-in for his human counterpart, the worker who refuses to give up his dignity or be objectified.