Park Slope

Longing to Join the Park Slope Food Coop

April 6, 2021 By Leanna Katz
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I moved to Crown Heights in September
A new friend sends me a New Yorker article
It tells tales of a Mecca
Of well priced, ethically sourced food.

I’m hooked.

Online, they say no new members.
On the phone, they tell me—nothing, no answer.

I take my longing outside the store:
Charmed at first sight of the sign,
Those art deco, rail-thin letters
Trace the outlines of a time of simpler markets.

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I eye the yellow-vested human
Guarding the entrance to paradise.
I’ve eaten no fruit,
Yet am barred.
“How to join?” I entreat her.
A pause. She offers: “If your friend gave you his card?”

My friend is moving to Pittsburgh in December
Mind spinning, the night before he leaves,
My fingers, not my better judgment
Text to ask for his card.
His refusal feeds my obsession, not my belly.

In my slumber
The smell of a health food store wafts in my nostrils.
My eyes widen at the rainbow chard, sunset peppers
Gorgeously misshapen purple eggplants
Glowing sweet orange orbs.

I peruse a case of inexpensive cheeses − young and sweet, old and salty
I caress the curdled milk of goat, sheep, cow, and buffalo.
I inhale
Plunge my hands into two overflowing buckets of nuts.
Exhale. Abundant value.

Out with trade-offs between money saving and healthy eating!
I’ve got a slab of vegan carob cake, and
I’m devouring it too.

You are not a member!

I am getting closer. Physically, at least.
I move to Park Slope after Christmas
I pass the Coop at least once a day
Outside always outside.

The long line snakes around the block
It shrinks my desire
I am no sheep (am I?) in this alternative
To the Mass Capitalist Experiment.

Members! Loaded with Herschel backpacks,
Schlepping bubby carts,
Plugged into headphones,
They have found something worth waiting for.

I yearn
To commune with them, to labor with my hands.
Having trouble reaching the jar of pickles?
No problem, Ms. Ninety-Nine Year-Old Neighbor.
My delirium dream of a world
Away from isolated remote work.

Please, Park Slope Food Coop, let me in!
“We hope to accept new members in the spring,”
Goes the office refrain.

Melt a little faster, snow.
Return, green grass.

So that I can take my place
Among the multicolored sheep
Of the slope.


Leanna Katz is a lawyer from Toronto who has made Brooklyn home during the pandemic.

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