Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Required Modifications for the Transhuman

By Paul Vermeersch

The next Earth will require more of us.

Give us chromatophores for our skin,

for camouflage, for semaphore;

and long, sensitive ears

to radiate the heat. I want to be

tiger-striped in seconds.

I want to hear you coming first.

Give us tendrils to drink the soil, and glorious

elongated limbs, like tentacles akin

to jellyfish, to explore the more

[ looking up ☝] ephemeral frontiers.

We’ll have that spooky eye shine to see

what the depths conceal in wrecks of

the old life, and glimpse the new life in a burst.

And give us membranes to seal each orifice

from drought. Though I hear its nicer in

Antarctica, it’s surely a poor

option for the non-swimmers.

I’ll be all in salamander and you’ll be

in bright cuttlefish. The polar EMF beckons us:

Come darlings, newborns, quench your Atlantean thirst.


Paul Vermeersch is a poet, multimedia artist, creative writing professor, and literary editor. He teaches at Sheridan College and is the senior editor of Wolsak & Wynn Publishing. His next book, Shared Universe: New and Selected Poems 1995–2020, will be published this fall.