No Number’s Enough by Rebecca Wittman

waiting by Inna Mosina

No Number’s Enough

When we move I do the dirty work, the grief work, like the doctor tells me to. I do everything the doctor tells me to so when we see each other again I can say, like I always do,

“I’m doing good”

and he can get his satisfaction, paychecks he stacks in his bank account like Jenga blocks.

But doing good is a relative term. In this case, relatively fake. “Grief work”. What a stupid phrase. Not so much work as much as duty,

or even better just grief,

because I’m not getting paid or praised or a piece of paper that says in big letters “GRIEF WORK, SERVICE HOURS DONE: ENOUGH.” God, I wish. The world is being carved into signatures and blurry numbers tracking everything it can, but not this, not grief, and why?

Because it consumes, or there’s my guess, at least. You’ve got 350 million people walking this world with grief so deep it makes them into the Marianas Trench, or some empty grave where the light won’t come in, and there are no numbers that can explain the full brunt of that, the bruises it makes.

In sixty years you show up to Heaven with slash marks playing tic-tac-toe across your wrists, God has silver eyes asking where your resume is,

which, we know, really means, How’d you suffer?

and it turns out you have to show Him every mark on your body, hands shaking and bloodstained at the knuckles, everything, including the places where your heart is bruised, its mottled purple, your voice saying on its own,

It’s just grief. Let’s let it be.

Rebecca Wittman

Rebecca Wittman is a young poet and artist currently traveling Europe with her family. She is an avid literature nerd, dog lover, and a strong believer in the power of positivity.