Joel Hans’ “Humongous Doubleray”


The last humongous doubleray has searched the ocean twice over and sent out markers of its passing and has heard no refrains again and again. There is something in the salinity of the water, its newly rising temperature.

It settles in a coral bed adorned by sea urchins and it chooses to move no more. This is the first time it has stayed still for longer than a moment. It doesn’t know anything other than forward and charging.

The humongous doubleray doesn’t feel humongous any more. The ocean is grand and all-consuming blue.

It activates a long-hibernated component of its own anatomy: an ability to create a double of itself in the opposite sex. The double looks exactly the same in the face, in the hull, in the shape of the wingspan.

You’re me, kind of, the humongous doubleray says.

The double does not speak.

We’re supposed to make the future now, I think.

The double stares in the opposite direction.

I think I love you.

The double flits toward the ocean’s surface and the humongous doubleray follows. They breach and take each other in their wingspans. They promise so many things. Feel bodies: of another and of themselves.

At least we’re each not the last any more, they say, together.

When they die—suffocated and sunbaked—they descend into the dark until their bodies collapse beneath pressure, until they are suspended in the blue deep. They are still in each other’s wings and in the ocean’s dark they are allowed to forget.

In time, the ocean crumbles their bodies, going as all things that die in water, and they are rendered into two waves that will grace a future body’s skin: the first for the memory and the second for the hope.