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Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim

This strikes at any hour, this is neither
the last nor the first: Again, here (the ascetic’s catch)

Yesterday, it was a bristling and shadowy wild cat.
Today, a white deer with chestnut-glazed antlers.

Extraordinary beasts, said
the peasant farmer. But far more extraordinary

is that rare wayward beast that ensnares
its hunter,

muttered by a blind hermit
also found by one in the forest.

He wipes away the sweat on his forehead
and gulps the remaining water in his canteen.

He swigs water, there is a deep
cut in his throat.

Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles’s seventeen books in Filipino include Kurap sa Ilalim (De La Salle University Publishing House, 2016) and a volume of selected poems, Ang Iyong Buhay ay Laging Mabibigo (Ateneo de Naga University Press, 2016). He is a two-time finalist for the Philippine National Book Award.