"At Bay" by Carl Phillips was offered by Poets.org's Poem-A-Day on December 3, 2013. A link to the poem, including the poet's notes, may be found here:
Carl Phillips (b. 1959) is Professor of English and of African American Studies and a teacher in the Creative Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of many books of poetry and the recipient of numerous awards and literary honors. A detailed biography may be found here:
"At Bay" moves from one image to another, often bridging the rapid changes with puns. A "swallow," the bird, transforms into "swallowing,"which further transforms into something "difficult to swallow." That "something" is doing a job that one dislikes but that one has to do.