"This is going to hurt." When he said it, I thought he meant
my hair, where they had pulled it, or my knees,
where they had scraped along the pavement.
Perhaps he meant the stones they were all gathering,
from which my body was already cringing. Or, if nothing else,
the horrible names they were all shouting, the lies they were telling.
Those all hurt, or would have, with the opportunity.
Years later, I came to realize that he meant
his own casual parting words,
and the sudden, stinging knowledge,
that I had been forgiven.