Nuala Ní Chonchúir – Juno Refuses to Look at Warhol

‘When I attend to you, I stretch my ears towards you.’ A. Alvarez

Juno refuses to look at Warhol
because I – her mother – refuse to let her
play with Dali’s Lobster Telephone
– also called Aphrodisiac Telephone
not because she is a vegetarian and
should have little interest in crustaceans,
but because Warhol is here, further along.
And who knows what would happen, anyway,
if she touched that Dali – alarms? a security swoop?
a red-faced ejection from The Tate?
No, safer altogether to stand before a Campbell’s tin
– not bisque, as it happens, but black bean soup –
our hands idle but our minds engaged.
I do not tell Juno – aged three – that Dali wanted
to know why, when he ordered lobster in Maxim’s,
he was never served a boiled telephone;
I am trying to disengage her from Salvador,
concentrate her energies on Andy.
She stands, arms folded, head down, floor-gazing,
proclaims that I –her mother – am ‘mean’.
So I lift her small body, hardened against me, and
carry her back to the lobster cradling the black phone.
She observes carefully and with obvious delight,
taking in the flaming carapace, the claws, the dial.
‘He might pinch your ear if you listened to him,’
Juno says. ‘He might let you hear the sea.’

Copyright by the Author