Get on Your Knees Again: Featured Poetry by Mark Yakich

July 2, 2019 | 1 book mentioned

Our series of poetry excerpts continues with a poem from Spiritual Exercises by Mark Yakich, a writer whose mixture of irreverence and the sublime results in a unique tone. Yakich always feels one line away from a joke or an epiphany, making “Revelations” an appropriate title for his style. So anaphoric that it feels like an incantation, Yakich’s poem compels us to read it forward and backward: a structure ready for descent and ascension.


When they say, Time heals all wounds,
They mean, Worlds.

When they say, Worlds,
They mean, You won’t even recall how much you’ll forget.

When they say, Forget,
They mean, Someday you won’t know the name of your daughter.

When they say, Daughter,
They mean, God.

When they say, God,
They mean, Eternity.

When they say, Eternity,
They mean, Until you are gone, too.

When they say, Gone,
They mean, Everyone.

When they say, Everyone,
They mean, We have no idea what happens after this.

When they say, This,
They mean, Words.

When they say, Words,
They mean, Meaning.

When they say, Meaning,
They mean, That which passes for understanding.

When they say, Understanding,
They mean, Peace.

When they say, Peace,
They mean, By which the end is justified.

When they say, Justified,
They mean, Amen.

When they say, Amen,
They mean, Say no more.

When they say, More,
They mean, Get on your knees again.

When they say, Again,
They mean, Love, Love, Love.

From Spiritual Exercises by Mark Yakich, published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2019 by Mark Yakich.

is a contributing editor for The Millions. He is the culture editor for Image Journal, and a contributor to the Catholic Herald (UK). He has written for Rolling Stone, GQ, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Esquire, and the Kenyon Review. He is the author of Longing for an Absent God and Wild Belief. Follow him at @nickripatrazone and find more of his writing at

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