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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

          Once upon a time is how all the fairytales and love stories start. Always remember the beginning when you worry or fear of a broken heart. You're different, you make me happy, but it runs deeper than that. I feel ultimately connected, and fulfilled to the highest of my content.  Don't question my mannerisms, or how I express myself. Just love me unconditionally and we will love as God does.
          Desire that it is already yours, for the outcome always ends in open doors.  Do not imagine failure, thoughts can contaminate, and you may attract the latter.  But do not worry, I will turn my attention to you. And hold it 'til it is steady.  It is not a question of being worthy, but of serving and devoting. You're different, so I will serve you. You make me happy, so I will devote to you. Layers upon layers, that all know each other, though silent and versatile, find it hard to live without one another.
          Don't mistake me for shallow, or worse, hollow, because I lost my ignorance long ago. My soul had been searching ever since, for the way it has always been and always will be.
          Show me selfish, and I will laugh.  Show me selfless, and I will follow.  Now I can never look front and back. But it is of no importance. You are here with me. And even though I would be nervous, I trust, believe, and I now receive.  The end is the beginning.

Metropolitan Community College – Maple Woods, Kansas City, MO
Faculty Contact: Mike Warren, English