The Good Daughter

by: Judith Viorst

She's been a good daughter, my cousin Elaine
(In contrast to Walter her brother,
Who showed no respect). And she kept her room clean
And she never talked fresh to her mother.
In college she tried, while maintaining straight A's,
To write twice a week or more often
(Unlike that bum Walter, who just called collect
And with news that drove nails in their coffin).

The boys Elaine went with were all that her folks
And their gin club and swim club expected.
(The girls Walter went with her folks only prayed
That he wouldn't come home from infected.)
Above-the-waist petting was all she allowed
Till the day she was led to the alter.
Yes, good is the word for my cousin Elaine.
(God knows what the word is for Walter.)

She's been a good daughter, my cousin Elaine,
As well as a good wife and mother.
She promised her folks that she's taking them in
When they're old. (Could they go live with her brother?)
On how to raise children and which car to buy
She accepts their suggestions, and gladly.
(That Walter, believe me, you can't tell a thing.
He responds to advice very badly.)

Elaine, when a card should be sent, sends a card,
And a birthday is never forgotten.
(That Walter can't even remember the day
That his mother was born. Is that rotten?)
At forty Elaine can look back on a life
Where she followed the rules to the letter
And won the esteem of her mother and dad,
Except-they like Walter much better.