The Least We Can Do

They line up for a plate of pasta, an orange, and two PB&Js. We offer bottles of water and, together, say their name.

“Hey Mario.”
“Hey Eddie.”
“Hey Batman!”
On Batman’s second time through he goes back undercover as “Bruce Wayne.”

We are visitors inside strangers’ homes. But we are not envious of their furniture or floor plan.


We hide our cell phones in zipped pockets. We leave our money in the car.

I hear someone say, “it’s the least we can do.”
And I say it too, though it feels like less than that.

We didn’t need to be there. The food was already made. Someone else could have handed out sandwiches more efficiently. Someone else could have smiled wider. Someone else could have sang happy birthday to “White Boy” on key.

But I had to see them, their broken smiles. It was for me, it was not for them. I saw them for an hour or two.

And it was was nearly nothing, but it was also the least you could do.


2 thoughts on “The Least We Can Do

  1. I’m tempted to make a quip about how reading this poem made me metaphorically cream my intellectual drawers, though doing so seemed a bit immature.

    I appreciate you for writing and sharing the poem, Ben! Parts of it deeply resonate with my experiences as well as Bryan Stevenson’s contention of the value of getting proximate. You and I have much to discuss, and I eagerly await the publication of your next poem.

    Much love,


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