The station at York curved
like a broken back, the flooded
river tumbling under the ghost
of the old bridge. In foxed plates,

a nest of beams propped up
ramshackle houses lining the arches.
We searched for something not missing,
that long-ago fall we wound our way

north minster by minster
to that fell country whose signposts
marked the rune stones. Every village boasted
a thatched windmill or tipped-over ruin.

Those were our compass points,
not the unfamiliar colors of the money
or the signs shouting COURAGE.
Even the birds rang out barbarian notes.