Weeds twine around the disintegrating remnants of the water tower and sprout in a tangle through the floorboards of the grandest house in town. The Methodist church, gray with rot, slumps toward the frozen ground. An empty mailbox flaps open on a gravel rut that was once a road.
The people of Monowi have died or moved - all but one: Elsie Eiler. Brisk and unsentimental at 71, she lives in the one home still fit for living in, a snug trailer with worn white siding. She runs the one business left in Monowi, a dark, wood-paneled tavern, thick with smoke.