Two Poems by Keats Conley

The God of Caddisfly Larvae

Inspired by the artwork of Hubert Duprat

If animals owe nothing to art, then what are we to make of this hollow tube: a patchwork of the shapeliest stones, planorbid shells, and slivers of fish bones like spruce needles? Ethology is left hanging. Is it a work of art, an act of instinct, or an insect’s artifact? Replace these sand grains with gold. Reconsider…. Behold the oeuvre by hexapod hands, which can only be described as ruse.

The God of Star-Nosed Moles

Let’s replace our faces with a state of being. Wear intuition as an expression. Let ideas wrap a ring around the snout. Seeing is beyond light rays entering eyes. Here in the ground, vision is vestigial—redundant as close proximity. Let your senses wave like sea anemones. Make a wish on a fleck of mica. Move purposefully, somewhere between the speed of light and blinking.


Keats Conley is a research biologist for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Fort Hall, Idaho, where she works on salmon recovery. Her most recent poems have been featured in Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine and The Curlew.

Image Credit: “Tiny Garden 1 (August Moon),” Toti O’Brien
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