To understand the needs of our country in the Air Age, we must know
what materials are needed to build airplanes, where they can be obtained,
how they may be shipped, and how accessible are the sources of supply.
-From “Air World Map By American Airlines, Inc” (1944)
Light, downy fluff from seed pods of kapok trees
makes sound-deadening material that insulated
airplanes, sometimes cushioned cockpit seats.
Forest of kapok trees, in Khmer, is Prey Nokor, later called
Saigon. My father might have crouched behind these trees
in '68. The trunks and branches are crowded
with large, robust simple thorns. The leaves like palms
and the pods, the size of soda cans, grow hundreds
to a tree. Their fibre's light, buoyant,
resilient, highly flammable, resistant to water.
His favorite drink was root beer. My sisters, star-eyed
in '82, gulped A&W in the yard
and when an airplane crossed, they’d stretch their tanned
arms and hold up their cans in an unheard toast.
words: Emily Brandt, NY (examiner-blog)
original publication: Kapok / Podium
image: Dorothee Lang, Germany (blueprint21)
original publication: rezonation / shiver (retrieved)
another understanding: untitled (#18)