in kindergarten, i learn how to recognize the face of danger. it wears casual clothes to fit in with casual people. it also smiles to appear as warm as the friendliest of us. i learn that the face of danger can look a lot like mine or yours. but i never expect it to. after all, the stranger next to danger implies that the attacker will be someone foreign. no one mentions that strangers will come in the form of family members too. no one tells me to lookout for you. my brother. the last person i expect to crawl underneath my sheets at night. my brother. the taste of your tongue is as foul as your desire to pry open my legs. my brother. you manage to rob me of my virginity and my ability to say something about it. yet you ask if i enjoy the ride anyway. you watch me slip in and out of consciousness with a smile swallowing your face. my brother. in kindergarten, i learn that the face of danger can look a lot like mine or yours. but never did i ever expect it to.
Starlenie Vondora is a Dominican-Haitian American from Chicago, Illinois and before that Miami, Florida. Shortly after her birth, Starlenie spent eight years in foster care before reuniting with her birth parents at 8-years-old. In the third grade, Starlenie developed a passion for writing poetry, music, and short stories. Twelve years later, Starlenie still writes for the therapeutic process of pressing pen to paper. She also writes so as to store the wisdom she’s extracted from experiences, for that is the reason she persists today. It’s finding in herself what she’s searched for in others that the wisdom has taught her to do. It is the wisdom that taught her that love is meant to replenish your roots and if it doesn’t then you’re using the wrong fertilizer. That wisdom has fueled her on the journey to restoration, so she cherishes it. Vondora stores it in the back of her mind as well as in notebooks. Now she offers it to you today.