By Ellen Reter

Bulging, the pseudopod extends, cilia pulsing to propel the massive white blood cell through the jumbled circulatory system. It stretches and retracts, reaching out to gently brush against its neighbors—seeking, searching, identifying—before pulling away once more.

Aimless, it wanders its domain, squeezing through dams, through beating waterfalls of fluid pressing it farther, flatter, faster than it can contend, through calm rivers it can navigate with stroking hairs, through minuscule pipes before popping out back in wider streams where it
reunites with others and it can continue its never-ending cycle.

Stretch. Connection. Contract. Repeat.

So much energy expended for a seemingly purposeless eternal wariness.

Until the cycle pauses. The pseudopod suctions to the curiosity, laying its length more securely against the other—feeling the curves, the edges, the shapes, and intentions—until it is satisfied. Its receptors have found a solitary signal of understood safety amongst the chaos of unknown information.

Reassured, the cell detaches from the still unknown object signaled to be supposedly safe and returns to its wandering, leaving the rod-shaped curiosity unmarked to work its way deeper within the body.