I imagine you as the classmate who never left
our hometown because you stayed to make it better.
After graduation, you became an EMT and saved lives,
even before they called you a frontline worker.
I imagine wishing I talked to you more at school.

I imagine you as my best friend.
We make plans to reach 30 together
still keeping each other’s secrets,
sharing goals, building our families.
I imagine you almost like a sister.

I imagine you saw this birthday and threw yourself a party
despite the pandemic,
wore your black dress and heels
because you knew how good you looked.
I imagine 27 still felt like an age worth celebrating.

I don’t want to imagine a world in which you deserved to live –
You already did. This world failed you.
Now we are called to change it, to remind everyone
you mattered.