This is a Good Thing. Believe me.
There's an eye in the tree with the tinsel strand
and the spice of woods: somebody watches
the women by the fire - one is asleep
and the other mesmered by mimes in the flame.
When the log explodes she screams: her limbs
hug to her head to hide her face
from charcoal embers, their indolent flush
setting smoulders as they speckle the carpet.
"That was a shock, and no mistake! Are you
okay, old woman? Gran? You're fast asleep,
and snoring soon, no doubt. This night, it creeps
like a cat, no noise; your bedtime's long overdue."
And the other who watches unwinds; a finger
peels from the bark, a palm, a wrist;
a shoulder of splinters splits from the bough;
from a gnarl, the brow; from a knot, the eye.
"Did you hear a noise, behind us, Gran? A rat?
There's something going on - is someone here?
This room's got ghosts, I swear, a tart veneer
of not quite right ... oh Jesus wept - what's that?"
She steps from the tree, her tethering ribbons
of husk broken. She breathes, lets air
unfurl the cellulose sacs of her lungs.
She does not smile as she starts her dance.
"You've got to be kidding! This is a joke, unreal!
There's no such thing as ghosts, just fear and dread."
Where callus toes tap on the floor:
a scent of woodlands slumbered in winter.
"Yet you're not real - you're hollow like a spray
of breath - don't touch me! Leave us be! Be still!"
Limber digits dock to the wall:
a creak of breeze caught in the briar.
"Don't hurt my Gran, please don't! Kill me instead!
It's me that bad, not her; don't take her away!"
Through mortar, buds burgeon and green:
a shiver of mist shawling the trees -
and Jenny Twig untwists the room
and screaks, and sings; expands and blooms.
In fact, there's so much that's new about this rewrite that I've decided to claim it as my NaPo poem for today.