It snows only three days a year in Jordan
and each year the snow comes as a surprise: roads
are deserted ski slopes; Amman office
buildings are coated in frost-paint;
and trees are dressed-up as snowmen.
Women avoid icy footpaths, while men
stay inside with strong coffee and flavoured
tobacco, but the children sneak out to build
igloo-forts and fight snowball wars. The first snow
day brings a busload of foreigners, whom the children
barrage with an arsenal of slush and sleet.
The travellers regroup returning white-fire
from behind the bus. Handfuls of flakes
are thrown until small blue fingers rise
in surrender. Locals and visitors shake
hands but the adventure isn’t over… The kids
beckon to be followed, so the foreigners track
after them leaving footprints, like breadcrumbs,
in the snow to find their way back. Together
they walk to a valley of snow-covered tents
where the snowball children live.
Gifts are given, hide and snow
seek is played, but in three days
my footprints will be gone.