Eryl Shields

She oils the wooden counter. For this, she uses a viscous hybrid oil that she orders from Denmark. It's a job she's attended to—daily at first, now monthly—for almost a year: layer over layer, each one taking twenty four hours to dry, the room rendered unusable. Ensure the area is well ventilated.

She pours the oil onto the soap-clean surface, and works it in with her bare hands, as if it were a Kobe beef cow. Her fingers push and pull in circular motions, until no one could claim she'd missed a bit.

When the wood has sucked up all it can, she will work it to a luster with the silk camisole that, in the dim distant, was the conceit of her wedding night.

Eryl Shields lives in southwest Scotland.

Read her postcard.

Detail of sketch on main page courtesy of Eric Stensland Smith.

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