3 Poems

Poetry / Katherine Indermaur

:: In the First Days of Pilgrimage ::

O make of me your holiest echo
Shape me by my wandering       may all
I’ve kept close on this earth be shorn from me
Like dust from mountains’ uplifted arms
May I crawl ever closer to your name  

:: At the Shrine of St. Thecla ::

For days I too sat by the blue window   asking
Nothing    Lord    only waiting to be struck
a tongueless bell    but you arrive gentle
As newborn lambs’ shepherd     you  
Kneel gentle as the lioness with her cubs 
Amid the closing in of bloodthirsty men 
Gentle as the tune the nightwatch soldier hums
As the plum tongue his armor entombs

:: Absolution That Begins and Begins and Begins ::

There is nothing beautiful left in me
When I reach the mountaintop
No desire       no forgiveness
Every stone    face    star
Up here bare as distance 
I pitch me out of reach

From the writer


:: Account ::

These poems come from a man­u­script that takes up the true sto­ry of Ege­ria, a female Chris­t­ian pil­grim who trav­eled from her home in west­ern Europe to the bib­li­cal Holy Land in the 380s AD. Some of her orig­i­nal trav­el writ­ing has sur­vived to today. One of the ear­li­est female moun­taineers, Ege­ria is the first known woman to sum­mit Mount Sinai and Mount Nebo. She was not, so far as his­to­ri­ans under­stand, a wealthy woman, but the rights women held in the Roman Empire at that time enabled her to trav­el rel­a­tive­ly freely, and occa­sion­al­ly with a mil­i­tary escort to ensure safe­ty. (The very same Roman Empire that exe­cut­ed Jesus adopt­ed Chris­tian­i­ty as its offi­cial reli­gion less than three cen­turies lat­er. Ege­ria would have been born about twen­ty years after this change.) These spare poems explore Egeria’s pil­grim­age. They are both filled with and emp­tied by the desert land­scape in which Ege­ria finds her­self, and which would have been incred­i­bly for­eign to her.


Kather­ine Inder­maur is the author of I|I (Seneca Review Books), win­ner of the 2022 Deb­o­rah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize, and two chap­books. She serves as an edi­tor for Sug­ar House Review and is the win­ner of the Black War­rior Review 2019 Poet­ry Con­test and the 2018 Acad­e­my of Amer­i­can Poets Prize. Her writ­ing has appeared in Eco­tone, Elec­tric Lit­er­a­ture, Fron­tier Poet­ry, the Jour­nal, New Delta Review, Ninth Let­ter, the Nor­mal School, and else­where. She holds an MFA from Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.