Chris Harding Thornton


Chris Harding Thornton is a seventh-generation Nebraskan who writes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She holds a BFA in creative writing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an MFA in fiction from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, where she teaches literature and writing classes. She is currently drafting a book of poems, revising a creative nonfiction book titled Road to Thacher, and finishing her first novel, Reclamation.


Bud, Dad, Bud:
Popper of Bennies.
Snorter of Crank.
Pincher of Barmaid Flanks.
Highway Hauler of
Sheet Metal Scraps,
Tar Covered Buckets,
Tarps and Carpet and
The Stink of Beer and Tacos.
Bud: The Provider.
Drunken and Jittery
Incidental Hunter of
Broke-Necked Pheasants,
Deer Limp With Head Trauma,
Rabbits Crushed Just Above
The Collar Lines of Kittens.

Granny dressed game
clobbered by
steel-belted radials,
the bug riddled grill,
the chrome bumper of
Bud’s Ford Econoline.
She never blinked, only
slit, gutted,
boiled, plucked,
skinned, gnawed off
heads with hacksaws.
Then she said grace.

On mismatched plates:
the sweet steam of grease
and rosemary.
On Bud’s beard and moustache:
a slick glisten.
In my mouth:
meat melted loose from the bone.

In a certain era of my childhood memory, my father exists as a deeply human yet wholly mythological character. ‘Providence’ tries to capture a piece of that while mulling over some larger things I’ll leave the reader to untangle. As for the piece’s autobiographical veracity, I’ll just say I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now.