Green Hills Literary Lantern


Forty Years in Roland Park

No need to worry about publishing,

debt, or playing the piano right,

or making the neighbors say Ah!

as you pass (they don’t even say Hi!).


No need to worry about being enough

of a man to manhandle life; no need to try

to talk sports when you’d rather talk Bach;

no need to worry you’d come out on top


of a list of those least likely to be featured

in a glossy magazine—So what if you’ve failed?

You’re older. It’s harder to humiliate you now.

Besides, racism has gone from worst to worse:


When we first moved in, a white man

stopped his car and asked me if blacks

lived nearby; he told me he was thinking

of buying a house a few blocks away,


and wanted to know if we still were all-white.

“See that house,” I said, “a brown woman lives there.

Our black adopted son and I live there as well.”

He drove off without saying a word.


Etc. You should have moved yet didn’t. No need

to brood over mojo and scars: your son survived.

Sit back, even though you prodigiously lack,

death will soon solve everything. Relax.




Thomas Dorsett is a retired pediatrician. Many literary magazines have published example of his poetry, including Verse, Confrontation,The Texas Review, Southern Poetry Review, The South Carolina Review and Stand.  He is the author of two collections of original poetry and two collections of poetry in translation. He is also an active blogger at