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I Never Wanted Potiphar's Wife, a Poem by Ellen Huang

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

Years from now, sermons and wisdoms will tell

of my bravery in the face of wily woman, nameless

woman, thirsty for exotic drink from this fortunate slave.

Years from now, they will erase sex, yet imply it everywhere.

Of course, he was tempted, they will say, but of course, he never thought of it.

Of course, this is every man's pain, but of course, we can will it not to be.

None would mention I never wanted the wife

and she held a different power over me

than the evil pleasure always implied.

I was a slave.

None would mention the strike in my heart

when she caught me in the darkness, alone,

touched me too close, reached and tore my clothes,

and when I refused still,

she would punish me for refusing.

They would equate this with the sensation of seeing women

showing just too much luscious skin,

to trick the body into reacting, to lure men

away from the righteous path, between just him and God.

Hear me, I was never once drawn;

I was terrified when I fled.

They would all preach the blamelessness in a man that can resist,

so deeply desiring to cheat but turning from a temptress's touch.

Do you know how hard it is to resist a woman? they will tell my daughters

Do you know what you do to men's bodies? / and their daughters

None would mention the dread not only in the dungeon

but in the pit below my stomach, in the extension of self

violated by her hand. None would mention my secret,

not only sympathy for my master but the way I wondered—

if I could have lit a fire in me in enough time, manifested any desire

for any affair to save my life, though I know it evil.

Though I know it evil.

The questioning of my evil, then,

if I would ever burn with passion, without fear.

If there ever would be a righteous love for me, without fear.


Ellen Huang holds a BA in Writing + Theatre minor from Point Loma Nazarene University. Her work has appeared in Diverging Magazine, Amethyst Review, The Oikonomist, Wax Poetry & Art Magazine, They Call Us, Rigorous Magazine, and Our Daily Rice, among others. She writes semi-spiritual reflections on underrated films and has directed short theatrical works such as "Genderbent Lifehouse Everything Skit," "Cannot Separate: A Skit for Our Times," and "Cross the Horizon: The Gospel According to Disney," which can all be found on her site: Much of her material is grounded in themes of progressive faith and platonic love.


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