It rolls up to our house

And stops.

Big, ugly, and obnoxious

Filling the air with gray exhaust as it waits

She stares at it, wide-eyed

Takes a step back

And looks up at me

She's scared

I smile sadly

And give her an encouraging nudge towards it

She goes forwards bravely

The doors yawn open to meet her

She sets foot inside it

Hesitates, turns to me fearfully

And gives me a look that says

Mommy, I don't want to go

I don't want her to go, either.

It's taking her to a place

Where she will be taught

What the government wants her to know.

Where her worth will be decided

By a handful of numbers.

But there's nothing I can do to help her

I have to let them take her from me

And allow them to turn her into a mindless drone

Or else the government will step in

With their laws and demands.

I watch helplessly

As the school bus vanishes into the distance

With my daughter in its clutches