“Happy Birthday To Me” by Christopher Citro
Christopher Citro’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in Poetry East, Arts & Letters Prime, Fourteen Hills, The Cincinnati Review, the minnesota review, The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, Harpur Palate, and elsewhere. He has taught creative writing at Indiana University and the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. A Pushcart Prize nominee, his poetry has twice been featured on Verse Daily, and his awards include the 2006 Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award for Poetry and the Darrell Burton Fellowship in Creative Writing. He lives in Syracuse, New York, but you can visit him online at www.christophercitro.com
Willy is a very odd guy, but humorously so. It’s hard not to chuckle at his “conversation pit (filled with alligators and musty water)” or the cobra sitting in his chair, because they’re so over the top. Who keeps such creatures around the house? A guy like Willy, for whom a look-alike zombie turns out to be the perfect gift – and therein lies the heart of this poem: it’s friendship. Bianca understands and accepts Willy as he is. She sees him more clearly than he (at least at first) sees himself and she responds accordingly. That’s a true friend.
Willy’s eccentricity called for a typeface that you just don’t see every day. Dieter Stefmann’s Cardinal strikes an excellent balance between the exotic and the legible. But what to pair with it? The companion typeface had to be unobtrusive, yet also harmonious. Garamond’s ascenders, descenders and ligatures offer just a hint of the more pronounced flourishes in Cardinal.