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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

The fish eye

By: Brian Baker

The fish eye stares

at you. Incriminates,

right up until the hook

pops out of its center,

a 3D effect, looks to be

headed for your heart,

straight from the fish’s heart

to your own.

Tony and I

climbed into this wrong world

one hot day. Found it

under a bridge outside

of town. We even arrived

there the wrong way, by car,

when it should have been bikes,

in halos of dust.

On this wrong day

we caught the right fish

(one fish, between the two of us),

it swam up from the bottom

to bite again, as it had before.

We both remember this same fish

from years before, it had followed

us through winding waterways

to here. It eats from the bottom,

is prehistoric, takes the hook

in many places: the mouth, deep

into its gills, through the backbone.

Several boys,

who got there the right way,

watched us do this, take their place

for an hour, show them how to catch

the big one, over and over again.

It is the same fish,

it is caught one way,

it is caught in many ways,

looks up at you through the mud

with one round eye

cannot be killed.


Brian Baker is a poet living in London, Canada. A previous poetic version of him published work in such places as Dandelion, The Antigonish Review and the University of Windsor Review. The more recent and revitalized version was winner of the 2020 Poetry London open theme contest.

"Tony (who is now, sadly, departed) and I often would just throw our rods into the back of my car and head for the countryside. Most of the time we didn't even know where we were headed but would drive til we found a spot which was as importantly a pretty spot as it was somewhere we thought there might actually be fish. This poem was the result of the juxtaposition of the wild expectations of young boys versus the contemplative exercises of older men. As well, I attempted to touch on the sometimes adversarial nature of hunting the fish/ being hunted BY the fish!"


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