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White Room

Salman Tarik Kureishi

This poem first appeared in The Aleph Review, Vol. 5 (2021).


start white room almost

no colour not

any more never

any more

any colour stop


start white room bare

white walls deep cold

but almost

no grief not

any more

white walls white floor even shadows

are white almost

no shadows stop

start walls

bare almost

but not quite faint

whorls and smudges very faint almost

not there


start in pre-dawn

april chill hanged man’s

tongue lolls eyes leave sockets


cold feet

point groundward


start almost some colour

there some grief

perhaps even pain white room white roof

no change stop not

any more

never any more any



start every change

for the worse so far almost

every change every time

no more struggle now not

any more

cold white sheet no warmth no

warmth stop rewind


in strangulation

neck cracks genitals

tumesce and ejaculate

their sticky store

white clothes soiled


almost some anger

there brief

red flare but now

no colour

rewind start white room


no movement

aeons long uncoiling

history is cold

almost some

shadow there

gone now stop


start hanged man

dangling in predawn

chill white feet

pointing to earth almost

nothing is changed almost nothing

ever any more



Clean Rain (detail) by Rabeya Jalil—acrylics on board


Salman Tarik Kureshi is a Karachi-based English language poet, author, and columnist born in Lahore. Formerly a corporate executive, he is now an editorial consultant at a publishing press. His poems have appeared in several anthologies: Pieces of Eight and Dragonfly in the Sun, Pakistan; Legacy of the Indus, USA; The Blue Wind, UK; in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Routledge; and in occasional ‘little magazines’ in the US, Britain, India, and Pakistan. Landscapes of the Mind, a solo work, was published in 1998. Salman has also been featured in the annual Pakistan Literature Journal, formerly published by the Pakistan Academy of Letters. He writes on socio-political topics for the weekly The Friday Times and dailies Dawn, Daily Times, and Sun.

Rabeya Jalil is a visual artist and art educator based in Lahore. She received her undergraduate degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore and a Masters in Education from Columbia University, Teachers College, New York, on a Fulbright Scholarship. Jalil’s practice includes painting, curriculum development, teacher-education and writing. She is a founding co-editor for the Journal of Art Education Pakistan (JAEP), the first peer-reviewed publication about art education in Pakistan and is co-director of Conversations, an online initiative about teaching projects in art and design education. Jalil has presented at art education conferences in Lahore, Islamabad, Boston, New York, Fort Worth, San Diego, Chicago, Seattle and Istanbul. Her work has been exhibited in Pakistan, UAE, USA, UK, Portugal and India. Currently, she is Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Art at the National College of Arts, Lahore.


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