For Moe Who Died

I keep thinking it's an April fool's trick
and Moe'll come back growling contempuously over his cigar,
"You people'll believe anything, whadda you mean, dead?"
I've still got a Moe's trade slip, Moe money with his picture and the slogan
"in God and Moe we trust."
I'll feel funny about using it now.
I never minded George Washington being dead
but some people just aren't supposed to die.
I remember Moe's voice loudly unharmonizing
with whatever blues the ceiling was playing.
"she done him wrong" would drift upstairs
and splash over the book I was browsing,
hunched on a stool or poring thru the rickety carts.
I remember the continual cheerful grumble
that came out of Moe like cigar smoke and of course the cigars.
Freud said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"
but not now.
I want all cigars to have Moe's face on the gilt band.
I want Berkeley's no-smoking ordinance to go up in cigar smoke
at Moe's memorial, they can re-instate the silly thing afterwards, if they have to.
I want to plant cigars on Moe's grave instead of flowers
and see what grows, something will.
I want exploding cigars.
I want to watch the endangered whales blow waterspouts out of Moe's bald spot.
I want every book in all 4 floors of Moe's bookstore
to be about Moe because I don't know much about him
and I never needed to before, he'd obviously always be there.
I want Moe back.
I recognized Moe's photo in the shop window, it's from the employees bathroom
and it's one of a pair of photos in the same frame.
The other photo shows Moe with his back to the camera, facing the john.
And I want that other photo to be in the shop window.
I want to see Moe pissing all over that April fool Death, that fools everyone.

Julia Vinograd