A year or two ago I saw a robin’s nest perched on a stop light in my neighborhood and thought, “I’ve gotta write about that.” I think that several times a day and nothing comes of it, but this one stuck around. I named the poem “Oh, Man, Even the Birds in this City.” Here’s the first stanza:
“At West 58th and Bridge / an empty nest sits on the crossbar / of the stop light, / a patchwork bowl of / mud, sticks and grass.”
I thought the nest was abandoned but then I saw birds in it. The cars flew past and no one noticed. The birds making a nest in the intersection seemed like a metaphor for making it in our tough, resilient city.
“A few days later, / a robin fluffs her feathers while / cars and trucks whiz-blam by. / Why so determined to settle here?”
I wrote it, workshopped it once or twice, and kept sending it out. Recently it was published by the Santa Ana River Review, the literary magazine of the University of California at Riverside. Check out the poem here (it’s on p. 98).