Chris Roberts: There Is No Escape
Noah Silliman

Noah Silliman



The color of the afternoon is gray

after cold morning rain decides to break,

and all there is to do is lie awake

and watch my happy attitude decay.


Above my windowsill, dark clouds betray

what time it is. Their presence seems to make

it being noon, not night, a sick mistake.

I’d wanted to go see the lake today.


The lake will still be right there anyhow,

though weather services are saying rain

again tomorrow, this will leave my brain

as wholly as a moment will leave now,

what once stuck out blends in, past days seem plain,

when rain has gone away, then comes again.




My friends have gone to see the town and lake

while I sit in the cabin attic, waiting

for their return, despite not going with them

on their journey to the outside world.


The woods are not enough for me. I need

more privacy, to hear the sound of nothing

in my head, but silence doesn’t come.

I hear the breeze comb through the conifers.


A spider crawls across a sunlit beam,

intriguing, as there’s little else that moves.

I wonder what my friends are doing now,

what stories they’ll return tonight to tell,

and if there will be moments where they’ll laugh

and I won’t understand, not having been.




When I was young, I tried to reach the moon

and stretched my arms as high as they would go.


I thought that hands could be like toy balloons,

and watched them rise, as though to meet the sky.


Leaves falling from the trees adorn the pond,

blocking the moon, despite how small they are.


This image of the moon is not the moon,

but still I net the leaves away and reach.




The fire reduces bodies to a myth.

The substances remaining are contained,

and kept by those who live until they die.


A type of artifact produced by kilns

that rests among the pictures on a shelf

recalls the time and place of one who lived.


There is no need to travel to a grave.

The long-shared memories are visited

at home each day, and there is no escape.

James Embry

James Embry

Chris Roberts grew up in backwater Pennsylvania, where he learned to pronounce his Korean birth name as "Die Young." His work has appeared in Blue Lyra Review, and is forthcoming in Brooklyn Arts Press's Brooklyn Poets Anthology. In the fall of 2016, Roberts was the recipient of a Brooklyn Poets Fellowship.