Watershed Moments: On Queer Eros, the Climate Crisis, and Memory in Brian Teare’s “Doomstead Days”

November 2010. My boyfriend and I follow a trail from the shore of Bastrop State Park Lake through a stand of dense loblolly pine. Just over thirty miles east of Austin on Highway 71, the park is home to white-tailed deer, the endangered Houston toad, Texas’s beloved nine-banded armadillos, and an abundance of squirrels, all beneath a canopy of pines, post oaks, and junipers. Millennia before us, as early as 8000 bce, the ancestors of the Tonkawa nation lived along the Balcones Escarpment, following the bison throughout central Texas, making use of these animals for food, for clothing, for tools, and more. And closer to this moment, the Tonkawa nation foraged for food beneath these pines, hunted these same deer for their hides and meat. Until the Spanish. Until the Baron de Bastrop, a Dutch businessman wanted in the Netherlands for tax embezzlement, worked to colonize the land. A city carries with it now a host of crimes gone unpunished. Perhaps the trees remember.