fragonard paintingSummers bio photo
A Young Girl Reading
by Susan Beall Summers

This portrait hung crooked in our house.
My mother’s image of me:
a pretty girl, round cheeks,
long brown hair,
a reader, dreamer, solitary child,
all true…

Substitute shorts and a torn t-shirt,
take out the ribbons,
let my hair hang in wild tangles,
for God’s sake, no Ruffles!
Place me under a tree,
keep the book,
add a cat.

PAINTING: “A Young Girl Reading” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1770).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I never realized how most images of girls, especially famous paintings, show them as demure, beautiful, well-groomed, dressed in beautiful gowns, with ribbons in long, perfectly styled hair. I was not that kind of girl.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Beall Summers is an active Austin poet, and member of Austin Poetry Society and Writer’s League of Texas. She is also a ghostwriter and editor, and frequently hosts Texas Nafas Poetry Show on Channel Austin. Her poems appear in Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku and Haiga, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review, Harbinger Asylum, Small Canyons Anthology, Di-Verse-City, and others. Visit the author at