Imogen Downes

Imogen2Imogen Downes is a Bristolian poet and theatre-maker. She has worked with Bristol Old Vic and Cheltenham Literature Festival, and was named on Rife Magazine‘s 24 under 24 list in 2018 for her work in poetry. We Are Animals, Don’t Forget It is her debut pamphlet, published in October 2021.

“These are hungry poems, always stretching themselves to evoke huge feelings. Downes writes strikingly and well.” – Tom Sastry


Becoming Noah


Hell knows all hiding places.
Hell invented them.
That’s what makes it Hell.
When the rain comes, and it will,
the sand will not shelter your head.


There was something godly about it.
Something definite
about the way everything started to drip,
how all the good china started to run and
the animals became unusual.
People were pinning bed sheets to the sky
and coughing to hide the rumble.
The sky was painted biblical.


I dreamt there were waves
lapping at my bedroom window.
We, dry as a strong face,
quietly watched the world rush by.
The flood pulled back into a beast
and lunged at our house –
we’re going to die, I thought
we’re going to be crushed and drowned –
but the walls didn’t quaver
and we held each other madly.


Once, I ran for the sky without learning to swim
and lost the air.
Now, I pull my socks up every morning
and give a hard stare to the mirror.


I survived. My family survived.
Everything unfinished died.