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Surrogate Stones are Here to Stay 

Surrogate Stones are Here to Stay 


Stepping down from surrogate mothers. 

Stepping forward, 

surrogate stones— 

stepping stones that I traveled on top of— 

a relational disorder introducing me to relationships— 

both kept me in the same damn place. 

I sought out recovery in the South Fork Stillaguamish River bed, 

I traveled East because I could not return West, 

I knew this river would drench me in oxygen– 

in breath— 

and now I’m perched on mother stones of sediment children, 

filling an empty nest with a daughter they do not know. 

Minnesota has stagnant bodies of water that stay where they’re left; 

Washington has flowing rivers, and though the sediment leaves home, 

the body of water stays in this place. 

Some relationships, 

some bodies of water, 

some surrogate mothers, 

are meant to be permanent, 

while others are meant to stay, 

but just because you leave the healing, 

doesn't mean you have to heal the living— 

it doesn’t mean the current  

will always take them away.


Banking on You 


This stretch of sand supports my weight, 

  as well as the heavy depth of my seemingly pointless wait. 

    This river water rises and then comes fall 

      I don’t want to get up because I don’t want to be let down,  

        so I stay seated. 

          I close my eyes, 

            breathing in the final breaths of these once-yellow, 

          now-brown, decaying leaves, 

        forever regretting that I left like the rocks in the water  

      who once begged for attention from the lovers on the shore 

    then once thrown into the river, 

  realized what they wanted wasn’t better than what was in store. 

I begged God to bring me back to the sand, 

but I’m still stuck here on your wedding day, sitting in the current, the past is too late, drinking from the rum, 

  pretending I don’t want the life that changed you from the River, 

    and turned you into land. 

      The once settled roots behind me  

        are now exposed on this beach like lessons to learn, 

        and I’m only able to go back to them  

       by taking steps forward. 

     Some roots are broken in half 

   but all remain where they grew, 

  and it’s because of this i know you’re still near me, 

even after you “do.” 

  So I will move on, 

    chasing a clean slate, 

      though I must tell you I will remain on this river, 

        only moving to a different  


Martha LaBine is a follower of Christ from Minnesota. She studies both psychology remotely at Bemidji State University as a senior, and creative writing at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. She has published two book reviews in Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s newspaper, The Campus Eye, and two poetry publications in their magazine, The Rapids Review. Martha has two additional poetry publications in Suspended Magazine's very first issue. Martha’s clock runs most peacefully when she is at church, with loved ones, writing, and hiking in boreal landscapes. 

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