In Response to Karen Elias’s “Cracked Open”

In Response to Karen Elias’s “Cracked Open”

Betty became Betty Bruce, a crack in assumptions.

Love became lonely, a crack in life.

Police became murderers, a crack in protection.

Hate became race targets, a crack in respect.

A mask became political, a crack in truth.   

Life became death, a crack in the White House.


At first glance, I saw a chicken’s head and with the title “Cracked Open” in Karen Elias’s mono-print with colors of the U.S. flag, I thought of the fragility of democracy at this time in the U.S., the dire need for passage of The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and John Lewis’s words “Freedom is not a state; it is an act . . . The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.” My first line is about my neighbor’s chicken renamed Betty Bruce when we realized she was a he. First glances, assumptions—these are the cracks that need to be examined and mended for the heart and soul of democracy to survive and thrive.

About the Artist

Karen Keifer-Boyd,  Centre County
Published:  July 28, 2021