Convergent Evolution by Kevin Casey

Convergent Evolution

Observe the eye of the humble squid,
       so like to your own orbed camera—

shuttering iris, retina nerve-plated,
       seining an ocean’s worth of photons

like a kaleidoscope of diatoms
       swirling through its lens in a vibrant cloud.

And consider the Koala’s fingertips—
       antipodal teddy bears wearing

fingerprints whorled in convolutions
       so like our own as to defy discernment.

These and a thousand other conjunctions,
       these accidents of convergence might seem

a sign of some mind’s search for refinement,
       but to me it seems that Nature’s constrained

by a few good solutions, a handful of tricks
       up her moth-eaten sleeve. But I’ll grant you

the favor of not claiming you’re mistaken:
       it’s only the way we two have evolved–

both shaped by the decades’ slow mutations
       of philosophy and thought–to diverge.


Kevin Casey is the author of And Waking… (Bottom Dog Press, 2016), and American Lotus, winner of the Kithara Prize (forthcoming, Glass Lyre Press). His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column ‘American Life in Poetry.’ For more, visit andwaking.com.