“No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone.
The accidents happen, we’re not heroines,
they happen in our lives like car crashes,”
-Poem 17 of ’21 Love Poems’
More than anything else throughout this excerpt, the phrase “fated or doomed”, stood out to me the most. Fate and doom are both incredibly cosmic in nature, but have different connotations that leave them on opposite ends of the spectrum that is the overall concept of destiny. When you think of fate in the context of love, it’s uncontrollable. And when you think of doomed love, it’s unavoidable. My interpretation of this poem is that the narrator is saying love is something we can’t control or avoid when it really comes down to it. It’s almost as if this is a neutral stance on the power of love, since the narrator is so adamant about how love is really just an accident. I feel as if this might tie a bit into Rich’s personal life and sexuality. She spent a majority of her life in the closet, but eventually did come to terms with the fact that regardless of her straight marriage, she was just naturally attracted to women. That realization was not characterized by “fate” or “doom” for her, but rather an admittance that love is an unpredictable phenomenon, just like car crashes.