Past Tense – Casey Killingsworth

Let’s say I invent something
that for some reason becomes
useful to us, so useful it becomes
a household name for a while–
my name–and in the future
they look my name and my
useful tool name up on the Internet
or however they look things up
in the future and wonder what
kind of man was this, how did he
figure out the world needed this tool,
what did he do with his spare time,
what was his favorite food,
and the kids in college would write
essays about me supporting what
a benefactor or demon I was and
in the meantime I’m still in my grave
waiting to become obscure maybe
laughing or maybe just lying there dead
alongside everybody who never invented
even one single thing.

Casey Killingsworth has work in The American Journal of Poetry, Two Thirds North, and other journals. He has two books of poems, A Handbook for Water (Cranberry Press 1995) and A nest blew down (Kelsay Books 2021). Casey has a Master’s degree from Reed College.