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The whirring of a thousand bees,
the squeals of children—
it’s deafening.
Bare feet slap on concrete,
then jump on sturdy nylon
before bouncing in the air,
rebounding like a falling ball and
landing swiftly.
it does not exist
in the starry-eyed gleam
of youth.

The house of infinite breaths
tilts—a game
until it isn’t.
There is only delighted shrieking
as bodies stack in a corner,
tipping the world off its axis.
Chests compress, bones
crack, air fades. . .
There is only delighted shrieking
as no one sees, too blind.
it does not exist
in the innocent mind
of youth

until it does, and
sound hitches to a silence.
Bodies shift. The world straightens.
Chests expand, bones
mend, air returns. . .
And there is only bewildered crying
as a child hugs her legs,
coughing and gasping
but very much alive.

About Author

Gina Kotinek

Gina Kotinek is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the SPOT Lit. She can usually be found hunched over her computer, reading, writing, or searching for the art of conquering carpal tunnel and tendonitis.

About Poem

On my tenth or eleventh birthday, my family rented a bounce house for my friends and me to play in. At one point, all of us crowded one corner of the bounce house to make it tilt before rushing to the other corner. After the third or fourth time, the bounce house literally tipped over. I was crushed under the weight of about ten children. That day, I almost died of compression asphyxia.