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The Ballad of Frankie Silver

Saturday night in Burke County, North Carolina
driving by the old courthouse
on the right,
the movie theatre crammed with people in line - in the cold - 
to see a Tim Burton film for a dollar 'cause
the old town cinema only has two theatres, 
and they're dingy and smelly.

On the left, 
the ancient courthouse gleams of polished white mortar,
or whatever they used besides bricks
and the Christmas lights (it's not even Thanksgiving & they're up) twinkle
lighting up silhouettes of carolers, snowmen, and skaters.

As we enjoy the white lights' beauty 
slamming hard against the ebony night,
my Dad who's driving says,
"Hey, that's the old Burke County Courthouse where the last
woman convicted of a crime was hanged"
killing any real or pretend festive moment going on in the car
 - a Crown Victoria - up until that point.

He tells us the way the woman - Frankie Silvers - 
was caught was very simple; all about a dog     and a bone  
'cause she chopped up her husband   burying him in the woods
near their home 'till the dog "dug up a leg bone," and
after that she was convicted unanimously, 
and later hung right inside the courthouse -
wonder if her ghost still walks the stairs 'cause a bone is a bone, and
they didn't have DNA testing in the 1800's - look what it did for O.J.

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