From Darkness to Light

by Talia Johnson

Glowing candles lit for the eighth night of Hanukkah

There is no light, all is darkness

Sensing the possibility of light

Stumbling, not knowing where to go

Internal light, has gone almost out

Not knowing who or what I am


It is the first night, one candle is lit

The way is beginning to be shown

Pathways are still hidden from me

Not knowing which way to go

But that there might be a way


Two candles are lit, two nights now

The shadows flicker, revealing hints

Paths forward teasing, enticing

Do I Dare to take the first steps?

Fear of what lies ahead hold me back


Three candles now on fire, three nights

Paths forward are visible now

Scarier for all that they are seen

Fading to black in the distance

Do I take the step? What is the end?


I touch the flame to the four candles

Magic starts to take hold of me

The paths are illuminated

Shadows receding, concealing less

My body starts moving, still tentative


Walked all day, now five candles burn

Shadows are not so terrifying

Seeking help on my way forward

It comes as I call out for aid

Alone, yet not alone, I rest


As I light six candles this night

I see that the path leads to truth

My truth, beginning to shine forth

Light casting back the shadows of hate

Doors opening, showing the way on


Seven candles are burning bright

The light within is sustaining me

No longer furtive, but confident

Moving onward, not going back

Living my truth, true to myself


The chanakia is full, flaming

Holding the light for all to see

Inner light adding to the warmth

Others start to come forward now

Together, lighting the way for all.


Talia Johnson is a multi-faceted woman who is transgender, autistic, Jewish, queer, and more than the sum of her parts. Her work centres on bridging faith and queer communities, facilitating workshops, educating, speaking, writing, one-on-one coaching, counselling, and mentoring. She is a queer and trans sensitivity editor for writers and publishers. She is currently studying in Kohenet towards becoming a Hebrew Priestess, and working toward entering graduate school at the Master’s level. Her studies bridge faith, queer, and psychology using queer and feminist intersectional approaches. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Come see Talia read live next Monday evening at WOMEN YOUR MOTHER WARNED YOU ABOUT at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto at 8pm QST. It’s going to be a spectacular spectacular of trans women and AMAB non-binary writers. See you there!