Phyllis and Roy are in a doorway.
Neither is coming or going.
They are framed within the frame
and the door is only half open,
so there is no portal or a passageway here.
It's more like a place to get stuck in.
They are yelling at each other
about a suitcase, of all things,
which is odd and slightly ironic
because they have just come from seeing
a play called, Voyage, which in part
is about characters who keep missing
opportunities for love,
and who keep asking each other
the same curious question:
“What’s wrong with this picture?”
which is a question Phyllis and Roy
ought to be asking themselves right about now
but they’re not, because all their attention
is on the damn suitcase, its
broken handles and zippers, torn outer pockets,
how it has been mishandled by careless attendants,
has seen too much wear and tear
from too many recent trips “Down Under,”
and how, given its current condition,
isn't really up for the next big trip,
which is just around the corner - unless
they can decide
which one of them will take it
in to be repaired.
As the audience to this little drama
we know something that Phyllis and Roy don’t:
the suitcase isn’t the issue, it’s a stand-in
for something else, that they,
like the characters in Voyage,
are ill-equipped to talk about.
It is a symbol for something
that they can’t quite face.
So all they can do is what they are doing.
It’s a failure of the imagination, really.
That’s what it is.
If they only had a different symbol,
a parakeet, a bath mat, a juicer,
Phyllis and Roy might just be able to
free themselves from the prison of the doorway
and their petty insults
and put the deadweight and baggage
of their rudderless conversation down,
and, suddenly feeling lighter, would, on a whim,
head upstairs, hand in hand -
the door closing blithely behind them -
to search the sea of cable channels
for, of all things, an episode
of The Love Boat,
where Merrill Stubing and Julie McCoy
captain and cruise director,
in white shorts and a perky bob,
allow Phyllis and Roy the opportunity