Ben Lerner


Specimen Days

I felt like a ghost in the green hybrid, driving slowly around Marfa in the dark. It was my first night there: Michael, the caretaker of the residency houses, who was also a painter, had picked me up at the El Paso airport that afternoon and driven me in amicable silence for three hours through the high desert until we reached the little house at 308 North Plateau Street; I remember the address (you can drag the pegman icon onto the Google map and walk around the neighborhood on Street View, floating above yourself like a ghost; I’m doing that in a separate window now) because I had to have my beta-blockers mailed there twice during the residency, pills I take to reduce the ­vigor of my heart’s contractions, and which have the para­­doxical effect of causing a minor tremor in my hand.