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A Lady Knows When to LeaveShe grew up in the hill countrywhere clean stables meant you had classthe night of her first barn danceher bare feet were slippers of glassshe walked toward the sound of fiddlescorn rows high around her earskerosene lamps in the hayloftlit the dancefloor like chandelierswell, it wasn't her fault, the way that she waltzedhad ev'ry farmhand wanting morebut she'd learned from her mom, to dance good then be goneso she stole off in the moonlit corncos a lady knows when to leavea lady knows when to leaveshe'd been sweet-talked by a farm boyand they married later that yearbut sugar rots fast when it ripenshis sweet talk turned to bitter tearstheir baby came in Octoberwith the crops crow bait in the fieldstoo busy drinking for harvesthe cursed her chicken bone mealsat first she forgave him, for gambling and ginand other foolish things he'd donebut when he beat on her, she left without a wordone night through the cornrows with her soncos a lady knows when to leavea lady knows when to leaveshe raised her son in a cabinand called her patch and cow a farmand that crying boy's warmest cradlewas his mama's loving armsshe taught him country mannersand that all pale eggs were pearlsand that being hard and worldlywould just hurt him in this worldshe was stubborn and strong, when that cough came alongfriends thought she'd beat it with easebut with her son by her side, she went quickly one nightthrough high rows of his memoriescos a lady knows when to leavea lady knows when to leave(c)2004 Robert George
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