Poems and Poetry

Radio Flyer | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

When you were a boy in 1948
living on a block of bungalows
in Chicago right after WWII
you had a red wagon
you pulled behind your mother
going to the grocery store.

Rationing of food was over.
Beef was back and butter too,
no more margarine you had to add
yellow to. Now you had big bags
of groceries to pull all the way home
in your red wagon with your mother
in a house dress swinging her purse
and smiling behind you.

You were the man of the house
on hot summer days and your
red wagon was the family car
because although your father
had a car, an old Plymouth,
he took it to work every day
and didn’t get home until
late at night because of
the splendor of overtime.

The only caveat was
your red wagon had to have
Radio Flyer painted on the side
or the other boys would say
you didn’t have a real wagon.
The war was over but they said
your family couldn’t afford one.
Same thing when you got
your first two-wheel bike.
If it wasn’t a Schwinn, they said
your family couldn’t afford one.

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