My mother taught me how to sell my youth for money and some sense of power, just as her mother had taught her.
At our front door, I answered the calls of passing men with well-rehearsed lines, laughing and lightly running a finger along my neck and breasts —a hunter with a baited trap.
Now I spend my days sitting at the foot of this tree, wearing only a shaved head and double robe, the legs of this naked mind spread wide open, ready to welcome whatever comes.
This verse is from the Therigatha, a Buddhist text consisting of a collection of 73 short poems of women who were senior nuns. The poems date from a three hundred year period, starting in the late 6th century BCE. It is the companion text to the Theragatha, verses attributed to senior monks. It is the earliest known collection of women’s literature composed in India.