Astonished at the new moral logic of the proud Hebrew,
that violates the laws of Power and Desire
(the eternal laws her universe rests upon),
she is left standing,
Joseph’s torn robe,
that she clung to so desperately just moments ago,
in her hands.
Two slaves, very surprised to see their gentle foreign overseer
Hurrying half dressed
From the direction of their beautiful young mistress’s chamber,
Enter without apprehension.
They see her.
It’s completely obvious…
Dressed in the evening clothes she usually wears only for Potiphar,
Complete with makeup for lovemaking,
Her face is red and flushed with arousal and indignation.
Her hair is loose from the struggle, with strands swept across her eyes and cheeks.
She is breathing hard and even sweating
maybe just a little.
The slaves freeze in terror, with expressions completely blank,
Fearing to betray a single thought or emotion.
By this, she sees they realise everything.
Her frustrated wanting is hardening into anger,
But their submissiveness denies her the chance to rage at them.
Her voice breaks a little as she says what her heart feels:
“The Hebrew. He mocked me!”
Then she realises this accidental admission
might put her in a dangerous position;
Potiphar is old, stern and powerful.
The ground beneath her feet is sinking,
everything she has could already be slipping away.
Outside the room,
a single drop has upset the stillness of the pool:
looks of surprise are becoming whispers.
Ripples are spreading through the household.
Who can deny it?
Something has happened.
At any moment, whispers could become cries of alarm.
She must save herself; preserve her position.
She could find herself an outcast
in this life
and in the life to come,
But, of course,
The truth of events is irrelevant. There is a higher truth:
She is a princess.
The Hebrew is only a slave.
Anger tears at her heart, but fear has made her mind calm.
In an moment she has the story ready.
With increasing composure, she outlines her accusation,
while changing her clothes.
The slaves are relieved, grateful and willing.
This lie will preserve them too.
She looks around, is everything ready?
One of the slaves indicates an inconsistency
with a panicked glance.
She sees; the evidence is eliminated.
She even gives him a small smile of thanks.
She is quite calm now: a true Egyptian princess.
“Call the guards,” she says, “The Hebrew has mocked me.”