Young Lovers in the Park

The velvety lawn is lush and green,
free of crabgrass, dandelions or weeds.
“Warning!” announces a yellow sign.
“Lawn has been sprayed with Atrazine.”
A young couple sprawling on the grass
clad in tee shirts and cutoff jeans
gaze into one another’s eyes,
whispering sweet nothings,
smiling, blowing kisses, laughing.
Their heads move close together,
then closer, their lips touch.
I half expect to hear romantic music—
soft piano, mellow horns, violins—
like in love scenes in the movies,
but that pounding in my ears
is not the sound of drumbeats.
It’s the thumping of my heart
as I suppress my urge to interrupt
their kisses and warn them of the danger.
“The lawn is lethal,” I want to tell them.
“Atrazine turns male frogs into females!
It is linked to sterility, birth defects
and cancer! It is banned in Europe!”
How badly I want to blurt it out,
but, alas, I am unable to do so.
Both decency and decorum forbid
intrusions, especially by strangers,
into the private moments of lovers
even when they occur in a public park
on a verdant, meticulously manicured lawn
that has been befouled by atrazine.

Floyd D. Anderson lives in Brockport, New York, and can be reached at Read other articles by Floyd D..