To be precise, the past subjunctive. Here is John Prine’s song “If She Were You” from his 1986 album German Afternoons:
Well, every time I try to love another
I never know exactly what to do.
I’d like to tell her just how much I want her
And I could find the way if she were you.
Her eyes may shine for me and not another,
Her lonely arms reach out to hold me too.
She wants to take your place and be my lover
And I could make her mine if she were you.
I never knew how much I cared about you
Till your memory made me a lovesick fool.
When she speaks to me, I hear your sweet voice calling.
When I close my eyes, your face comes into view.
I remember how it hurt when I was falling
And I could fall again if she were you.
Next week: litotes and synecdoche in the work of Dolly Parton.