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When they first contact us, they will not understand. Everything is whole, where they are from. They have no constituent parts, and do not have groups; there are no brittle things, only shapes that deform into other shapes when struck. Or so they'll tell us, after they learn to string words together as children do. At first they will want to know how we speak—they will love our metaphors. The way we call blood cells deliverymen, the white ones warriors. They will hear us speak of our stomachs as if they own minds, and believe it with abundant naivety. Soon they will be like poets, connecting everything with anything. So the people of a village are the neurons of its brain? I will laugh, and say, perhaps. And the trees are little follicles of the Earth's fur, the clouds the Earth's breath. Us artists will nod our heads in agreement, until they ask, what body is the Earth a cell of? I will hate to disappoint them. I will say, ah, there is no higher rung. The Earth is its body, the cell of none other. It is a changing form, but it is alone. It is a whole shape; it needs no parts, and forms no groups. Ah, now I know who I am speaking with! So your world is not so different from mine. That is the moment we realize their size.

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