Fool’s Gold Heart
by Derek Kannemeyer

I have a fool’s gold heart
I bought at the gift shop
of the Romford, London park

where I fled my adolescence—
cloistering my way up
out of its noise and nuisance

to the Hay Meadows’ wide summit;
to watch the moonrise from it;
or once, in dark so blind

I couldn’t see my hands,
to blunder through these woods
until my sobbed breath slowed.

Then later, grown and gone,
I came back, sometimes, still—
my father hiked these hills

with me into his eighties,
on my quick visits home;
but died; and now our house

is up for sale—and lately
I’ll fondle this little piece
of gold rough-hew as if

the shatter of my life’s
the haunt and glint of it,
hay-scented and starlit;

the streetlamps coming on
below in Romford’s dark;
where I grew, and am gone;

but have my fool’s gold heart.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Hand on my fool’s gold heart (October 2016).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My family moved to Romford when I was six, fleeing apartheid Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve found it hard to let go of places ever since. And yet I’ve kept moving, country to country to country. When my mother put our childhood house up for sale this summer, and it dawned on me that I would never again see Bedford’s Park—my Romford high holy place—I made one last pilgrimage up the Hay Meadows hill, back behind the deer paddock, to the gift shop, in search of a totem item. I found this fool’s gold heart.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was raised in Romford, London, and lives and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. Over the years he has acquired dozens of heart-shaped rocks, but this lumpen piece of pyrite transcends the collection. His writing has appeared in The Rockhurst Review, The Common Ground Review, Rolling Stone, and in publications with no minerological overtones at all.