“The Light Market and the Language Market” by Jessy Randall

When they announced
they were opening
the light market

no one took them
seriously

you can’t monetize
the sun, we said

you can’t sell
something we all get
for free

but then the rich
started buying up
all the light
in the world

they won prizes
for their entrepreneurship

leaving the rest of us
writing poems in the dark
for no one to read.

Next, they started
selling shares in language

and now we literally have
fifty dollar words

you laugh, but when’s
the last time you heard
scintillating

or charismatic

Don’t worry, they said
we’ll let you have
a bunch of words
for free

but we get to choose
which ones

hate, fear, ugly, dumb


Jessy Randall‘s poems have appeared in Analog, Asimov’s, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and Strange Horizons. Her new book, Mathematics for Ladies: Poems on Women in Science, is forthcoming from Gold SF / University of London. She is a librarian at Colorado College and her website is bit.ly/JessyRandall.