“Deep Within” by Tony Baker

When you hook about a dozen fish
the day seems bright and good
until you hook that certain one
that reels in like dead wood

alarmed, anticipating,
struggling to be free
then after strength had worn quite thin
simply trusting me,
placing total trust in me to set him free
I would have justified that faith of course
but he’d swallowed far too deep
and now was simply fighting for
a life he couldn’t keep

I watched him begging with his eyes
as his predicament dawned upon him
watched him wiggle, watched him squirm,
but kept a firm grip on him
then watched his eyes fill up with blood
without the tools to calm him,
then with nothing but a cleaning knife
I brought his fate down on him

And so I put an end
to a cruel and senseless game,
tore the body from the brain
and set him free

was the hunger of this simple thing
or the fisherman to blame
who’s to say in the grand old scheme of
after that I closed my tackle box
and stopped that foolish play
and have had no need for fishing since
that day


Tony Baker has deep roots in Appalachia with family who have lived in eastern Kentucky for generations. A native of Corbin, Kentucky, he studied English at Berea College and the University of Louisville before entering the workforce and living in various parts of Kentucky and southern Indiana. A few years ago, he returned to Corbin where he now lives with his wife, Jennifer.  In his free time, he likes to play music on his banjo and guitar.


**Featured image by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash


  1. This gets me in the heart. You’re such a special man ,baby brother.

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