Steve Williams


Inspired by a sculpture by Mark Dion

From the Carolina Biological Supply catalog:
Our standard formalin rats available in pails or in damp-packed vacuum bags (your choice of 1 per bag or bulk-bagged).
Color Injection:
Plain: No color injection.
Single: Arteries injected with red latex.
Double: Arteries injected with red latex, veins with blue latex.
Triple: Arteries injected with red latex, veins with blue, hepatic system with yellow.
White Rat, Pregnant, Triple, 1 Per Bag, 7-9 in     $17.50

Back-ordered, Available 1/28/09

I ordered 12 rats for Christmas.
I slipped on my yellow rubber gloves, extra large, extra long,
cut open each shrink wrapped bag,
poked a hole in the throat
threaded a string through the cut, out the mouth.
I dipped them in a bucket full of tar (no feathers) to slow
the rotting, rubbed the black goo into the fur,
and tied them on a spare branched maple
six feet, six inches tall that partially blocks the exit
from the courthouse.
They twisted as if they could eat their way up
the kite string, climb on the branch and scurry off.
It was the year of the earth rat
and this was my birthday.

I left half of the strings white and with a magic marker,
colored the other half red -- nothing was green.
I made sure the ornaments were spaced well,
between the leafless twigs like onyx pendants, spear
heads or grenades
hung from the hollow bones
of angel wings.

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