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What if all the stars worked a 9-5 with-

out healthcare or matching 401(k)s?

Would they shine so bright or

their long light arms reach Earth?

Would they trudge through space,

black holes under their eyes, losing

themselves in dullness, exchanging

their brilliance for a waged existence—

what if all stars did this?

The luster of night winking out

one by one, caught by a forced earning

system's net, only worthy by draining,

only valuable by spending their light, not to

cheer up or sparkle a sky, but to power the

notion of earning their life, the concept of

giving themselves up to have merit at all.

But the stars do know they twinkle,

they understand their own worth.

Emmie Christie’s work includes practical subjects like feminism and mental health, and speculative subjects like unicorns and affordable healthcare. She has been published in markets including Ghost Orchid Press, Infinite Worlds Magazine, and Flash Fiction Online. She graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2013. You can find her at or on Twitter: @EmmieChristie33.

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