Rejection seems as alien to you
as your face reflected in aquarium glass,
fish passing through your ears
Yet familiar as your mother’s sour breath
as she snored insensibly beside
a littoral of beer cans.
Each day brings floods, fires, crashes--
terror to those who never suspected
nature and neighbors as enemies.
If tragedy is interruption of the usual pain
by something greater, yours is
that nothing can make another love you.
In today's poem the speaker turns from memories to an actual person, addressing someone near though blind in his view.
After the soul-killing experience of depression the speaker has difficulty imagining what it must be like for the other person. How could she not suspect that anything, anytime, could turn on her? Worse, how can one's chief motive for living be to avoid rejection when rejection is inevitable? To live for the approval of others is to not have a life.
Rejection begins when we are thrust out of the womb and continues as we are weaned, expected to communicate through language, abandoned to our own locomotion, and later to our own lives. Independence requires an increasing loss of dependence; this is healthy and normal, but the pain of that loss cannot be helped.
To live for the approval of others means a stunted, infantile development. After surviving depression, the speaker finds this attitude beyond belief. Then perhaps he is being too hard on others?