Oh, that playground refrain.
How often did I sing it
or was it sung at me?
Too often, I’m afraid.
It’s a funny choice—

physical versus psychic pain.
One you will probably heal from,
one you might not.
Knowing what I knew even then,
I’ll take the sticks and stones.

And to those whom I called names,
forgive me.
And to those who called me names,
especially those who knew
the names that fit me best,

I forgive you and thank you
for one of the many bits
of truth learned at recess.
Some of the names I can laugh at
now, just as I did then.

But the greater truth is that
for those of us who know words
and names can be used as weapons,
there is no forgiveness
for causing wounds that never heal.